Culinary Inspiration

The Mediterranean Diet continues to be highly regarded, named the best overall diet by U.S. News & World Report for the third year in a row.  This traditional way of eating emphasizes eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts and seeds – including walnuts. It also suggests moderate amounts of fish, poultry, eggs, and wine, while limiting red meat, processed meat, dairy, and sweets. Inspired by cuisines from countries around the Mediterranean Sea, there are many ways to channel this food philosophy, especially when it comes to snacks. In the spirit of Mediterranean Diet Month, here are a few delicious walnut recipes that showcase their taste and versatility.

The Perfect Parfait

Known for its versatility and convenience, Greek yogurt is a fan favorite at breakfast. The tartness of the yogurt is typically balanced with sweet foods, like fruit and honey. But don’t count it out at snack time! If you’re looking to spice things up (literally), take your Greek yogurt to another level by making a savory Greek Salad Parfait. Between the crunchy walnuts, smooth yogurt, and tangy tomatoes, the flavors and textures in this parfait will surprise and delight your taste buds.

Your New Favorite Nachos

Is there anything better than digging into a plate of loaded nachos? Fans of this cheesy treat might enjoy a lighter option to enjoy between meals, like these Mediterranean Walnut Nachos. This Mediterranean medley starts with a base of pita chips instead of tortilla chips, and uses hummus as the glue that brings all of the delicious toppings together! Pile on salty Kalamata olives, finely chopped red onions, crunchy toasted walnuts, and any other ingredients that strike your fancy. Trust us, this dish will leave your taste buds pleasantly surprised and appetite satisfied.

A Savory Paté

If you’re on the lookout for a plant-based option to paté, look no further than this California Walnut, Lentil and Mushroom Pâté recipe. Enjoy this rich, filling snack with the earthy tastes of cremini mushrooms, toasted walnuts, and fresh lemon juice. This delightful spread will leave you wanting nothing more than another helping.

One Bite Wonders

Great as an afternoon snack or as an appetizer, these crisp and refreshing Cucumber Walnut Bites are filled with roasted red pepper hummus and topped with tomatoes, crumbled feta, and chopped walnuts for added crunch. Or, if you’re looking for another one-bite option, try these Herbed Cheese and Walnut Stuffed Mini Peppers. They’re an easy snack you can make ahead to keep yourself fueled all day. As an added bonus, both of these are certified by the American Heart Association as heart-healthy* recipes.

A Flavorful Dip

For a unique twist on your favorite Mediterranean dip, try out a Curried Walnut Hummus. This hummus recipe is packed with warm curry flavors, garlic, and lemon juice. Add some spice and flavor into your afternoon by dipping veggies or pita in this homemade spread, or include it in your next appetizer.
Whether you prefer a smooth Greek yogurt parfait or a savory pâté, you’ll be satisfied to know that California walnuts provide a wide variety of ways to enhance your Mediterranean diet. Find new recipes or get creative and test out your own ideas. Either way, California walnuts give you the extra boost of flavor, texture, and nutrition you love.

*Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 ounces of walnuts per day, as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet and not resulting in increased caloric intake, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. (FDA) One ounce of walnuts offers 18g of total fat, 2.5g of monounsaturated fat, 13g of polyunsaturated fat including 2.5g of alpha-linolenic acid – the plant-based omega-3.

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