The common almond has a secret life as one of nature’s most unassuming wonder foods. Grandmothers in Southern Italy and Sicily have long prized almonds and almond paste for their healing qualities. They use the paste in many of their recipes, including the island’s wonderful almond granita. They also use almonds in pastry fillings and even pasta sauces, such as almond pesto.
Whether you add them to a recipe or eat them plain right out of the bag, vitamin-and-nutrient almonds are a perfect snack during treatment. They are an excellent source of essential fatty acids as well as dietary fiber that helps maintain regular digestion. Low on the glycemic index, 1 ounce of almonds (about a handful), contains 35% of the daily value of antioxidant vitamin E and 6 grams of protein. They are a source of calcium and iron, and of the healthy monounsaturated fats that the American Heart Association has linked to lowering bad cholesterol.
Raw almonds can be bought whole, blanched, sliced and chopped, or ground into almond flour or paste for use in baking and confectionaries. The best way to enjoy almonds, and to get the most from their nutritional properties, is to include them in every part of your diet. Spread almond butter on toast, sprinkle toasted almonds on salads, fruit, or oatmeal, substitute ground almonds for flour in cakes and cookies, and last but not least, replace sugary snacks with whole raw almonds. Another enjoyable way to get the benefits of almonds is by drinking almond milk. Delicious on its own, almond milk can be added to coffee, tea, or smoothies.
Almonds have many uses. See how to use ground almonds with whole-wheat pastry flour in our Chocolate Marble Cake recipe. For a healthy lunch or dinner recipe, toast some almonds, measure out some whole-wheat pasta and make our Spicy Pasta With Kale & Almonds. With more vegetables than carbs, this dish packs great taste with great nutrition. For a delicious on-the-go snack or dessert check out our Vegan Chocolate, Date & Almond Bars will be sure to win over a dinner party crowd. If you’re looking for a nutrient-packed side dish, try this Shredded Kale Salad With Dates & Almonds. Also, try our super simple and Easy Almond Cookies or Almond Tres Leches Cupcakes.
Get creative with almond milk by adding your favorite extras: Berries or bananas can turn your almond milk into a delicious, nourishing smoothie. For a fancy twist on pudding try this Almond Avocado Pudding. To warm you up on a cold winter’s day check out our comforting Almond Milk Chai Tea. This recipe can be poured over ice to create a refreshing summertime beverage as well.