Almond Board :: Cooking with Almonds
Cooking with Almonds
Almonds’ sheer versatility makes them a wonderful nut to cook with. They give salads crunch and a sweet, toasty flavor, they jazz up whole grain and rice dishes, and they’re a great complement to fruit, just to name a few uses!
Whole almonds have the most bite. But slivered almonds pair perfectly with delicate green vegetables and squash, and sliced almonds can be just right for desserts. Chopped almonds can compose a nutritious coating to fish and poultry. Almond flour, which is made simply from finely ground almonds, gives baked goods a rich, toasty taste.
Two well-known chefs with different culinary styles offer their favorite tips and techniques for cooking with almonds, along with recipes. They make it clear that chefs love almonds!
“I'm all for almonds," says famous spa chef Bill Wavrin. "They are very good for you -- a great source of heart-healthy fats and protein. I love to combine them with fruit.” Learn more about the health benefits of almonds.
Chef Wavrin should know. Formerly Executive Chef at Miraval Resort and Spa and Rancho La Puerta, he is celebrated for using fresh, flavorful, healthy ingredients to create scrumptious, low-fat food.
He recommends making pesto with almonds. He also raves about a baked egg dish that combines almonds, egg whites, sugar, salt, herbs and chile powder. Here Chef Wavrin shares other favorite recipes.
The chef suggests roasting almonds to bring out their delicious oils and enhance their crunch.
More than any other nut, almonds are part of cuisines spanning the globe, including Asian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and American cooking. San Francisco-based chef and cookbook author Joyce Goldstein, an expert on Mediterranean cuisine and another almond fan, explains:
“Almonds are believed to have originated in China and Central Asia, but were introduced to the Mediterranean in the Middle East by Arabs,” she says. “The Arabs ruled Spain for over 700 years and planted almonds there. When the Moors and Jews were expelled from Spain and its lands after the Inquisition, numerous almond-based recipes were promulgated throughout the Mediterranean.”
Today, more than 80 percent of the world’s almonds and 100 percent of the U.S. supply are grown each year in the chef’s home state of California.
Chef Goldstein also recommends roasting almonds before using them in cooking and as a snack. She says she stores her almonds in the freezer for up to two years so they do not go rancid. The chef shares her best uses for almonds.
"I like to eat warm and salted almonds out of hand, and I use them roasted and ground as a thickener in soups and stews, in the manner of a Spanish picada," reveals Goldstein. "I also love them in dessert pastries."
Our story on almonds and whole grains has additional tips from Chef Wavrin and Chef Goldstein.
Enjoy these delicious almond recipes from the chefs:
Roasted Red Bell Pepper Pesto with Almonds
Spicy Orange and Almond Salad
Couscous Salad with Almonds, Raisins, Orange Zest and Saffroned Onions
Chickpea and Spinach Soup with Shrimp, Almonds and Garlic