Pine Nut and Avocado Pesto with Toasted Pita Chips

Recipe courtesy of Nuts for Life (


  • 4 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 pita bread and pine nuts, to serve


  1. Combine pine nuts, basil leaves, avocado, garlic and lemon juice in a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds or until combined. Add water and process until smooth.
  2. Transfer pesto to a small bowl and stir in parmesan, season with salt and pepper.
  3. Lightly coat 2 pita breads in olive oil and roast on an oven tray at 350°F until crisp and crunchy. Break up pita bread into bite size pieces.
  4. Serve dip with pita pieces and additional pine nuts to top the dip.

Tip: Store in an airtight container or jar and keep in the refrigerator. Best used within five days.

Spiced and Smoked Macadamias

Recipe and image supplied courtesy of Australian Macadamia Society


These macadamias – with their smoky, spicy kick – certainly pack a punch! Perfect for beer and BBQ o’clock, you can tailor this recipe to your own taste by creating your own herb and spice combinations.


  • 2 cups macadamias, whole
  • 1 teaspoon Korean chili powder, or any chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1½ cups broken macadamia shells


  1. Divide the macadamias evenly into 2 separate mixing bowls.
  2. To one, add the chili powder, maple syrup, ¼ teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of oil. Stir thoroughly to coat the macadamias.
  3. To the second bowl of macadamias, stir in the rosemary, remaining salt and oil.
  4. Place all the macadamias, keeping the flavors separate, on a tray that can go on the BBQ – cast iron is ideal.
  5. Preheat BBQ to 475°F. Place a baking rack over the BBQ grill so that the tray will not come in direct contact with the grill (this will prevent the macadamias from burning).
  6. Place the macadamia shells into a smoker box and close it. Place the smoker box into the BBQ and close the lid of the BBQ.
  7. Allow the macadamia shells to start smoking, about 15 minutes. Place the tray of macadamias into the BBQ and close the lid.
  8. Turn the BBQ down to about 300°F and let the macadamias cook slowly, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.
  9. Turn the BBQ off and allow the macadamias to cool in the BBQ with the lid down for 20 minutes to increase the smoky flavor.

Tips: Serve slightly warm or cool completely and store in an airtight container. This recipe makes 2 cups (approximately 9 servings).

Macadamia and Pine Nut Bars

Recipe courtesy of Nuts for Life (


  • 3 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup macadamias, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup cranberries
  • 1 tsp cinnamon or mixed spice (optional)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (if required)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  3. Place all ingredients into a large bowl and mix well until all the ingredients start to come together. If you find the mix is too dry, add the milk.
  4. Once the mixture comes together, spoon it onto the lined baking tray and flatten the mixture down with the back of a spoon.
  5. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until it starts to brown on top.
  6. Allow to cool, then slice into 16 bars.

Tip: Keep uneaten bars in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

Fiery Hot Cheddar Walnuts


One look at the grocery store “snack aisle” will tell you that super-spicy snacks and chips are wildly popular. This recipe offers a nutritious, but just as tasty, alternative.


  • 6 tablespoons White Cheddar popcorn seasoning*
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons red chili pepper hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 4 cups California walnuts, in halves and large pieces


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Get out a large, shallow baking pan. For easier cleanup, line the pan with parchment paper if you wish, though this is not essential.
  2. In a small bowl combine the White Cheddar popcorn seasoning, cayenne pepper, paprika, onion powder and garlic powder. Whisk together until thoroughly and evenly blended. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine the oil, red chili pepper hot sauce and water and whisk together until smooth. Add the walnuts and toss until they are glistening and covered with the oil mixture. Continue tossing and stirring as you sprinkle on the cheese mixture and the nuts become coated with the seasonings.
  4. Spread the seasoned walnuts on the baking pan. Bake for 6 minutes, and then stir the nuts with a spatula. Bake 6 to 8 minutes longer, until the nuts have browned lightly. Cool completely, then store in an airtight container.

Tip: *White Cheddar popcorn seasoning can be found in the “popcorn” section of most supermarkets. Some people can be sensitive to the heat of hot peppers and their various forms, including red chili pepper hot sauce and cayenne. Use tongs or a big spoon to toss the walnuts with the seasonings, not your bare hands, and work in a well-ventilated kitchen, particularly if you experience any discomfort in the region of your eyes or nose while blending the spicy mixture.

Toasted Walnut Hummus


This citrusy, nutty hummus makes a great dip and spread. Try spreading it on panini made with grilled vegetables for a healthful, vegetarian sandwich.


  • 1/2 cup California walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons walnut oil
  • 1 garlic clove, quartered
  • 1 14-ounce can chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Toast walnuts in 350°F oven for 8 minutes or until golden brown. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Combine toasted walnuts with oil and garlic and puree in food processor or blender until smooth.
  3. Add chickpeas, orange zest, orange juice, salt and pepper and continue to blend to an even, smooth consistency. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
  4. Serve hummus in small serving bowl alongside toasted pita bread or with a variety of colorful raw vegetables.

Flavored Nuts


This is your chance to create your own nut delight, whether sweet, salty, bitter, sour or umami.  These nuts can be used just to nibble on their own, or as added flavor in a dish.  For example, pepper dusted cashews over a salad in place of pepper, honey cinnamon macadamias over cereal rather than sugar, or soy almonds in stir fry. There are many methods for flavoring nuts – here are a few ideas.

Roasted Nuts

There are a few different ways to add seasoning to nuts in the oven:

  1. Toss 1 cup of nuts in a teaspoon of oil, then dust with spices of choice – chili, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, nutmeg, allspice, Chinese five spice, mustard powder or any other powdered herb.  Lay on a lined baking tray and roast for 15-20 minutes at 350°F until golden brown.
  2. Place nuts in a casserole dish, drizzle with olive (or preferred nut oil) and scatter fresh sprigs of herbs over top, such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage or bay leaves.  Even a few thin slices of lemon or orange zest work well.  Toss to combine.  Place in 350°F oven and bake for 10–15 minutes, tossing once or twice during cooking, until nuts are golden brown and aromatic. Cool and place in sealed jars with the seasonings and zest so flavors can develop.

Sautéed Nuts

Sautéing provides a rich coating for nuts and is best eaten straight away or within a week. These are great on cheese platters and in rice, pasta and stir fries.

  1. Melt a mixture of 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a large sauté pan. 
  2. When melted, add a teaspoon of powdered seasoning, such as the combinations listed above, and stir until well blended.
  3. Add a cup of nuts of choice and stir to coat.  Cook over medium-low heat, tossing pan constantly, until nuts are golden brown.  Pour into a strainer and allow to cool. 

Caramelized Nuts

Stove Top:

  1. Place 1 cup of nuts, ¼ cup sugar and 1 tablespoon butter in a nonstick pan over medium heat and cook, stirring for 5 minutes. Seasonings such as cinnamon and nutmeg can be added while stirring.
  2. Pour onto parchment paper and allow to cool, then break apart with hands. Store in a sealed container at room temperature.

Oven then Stovetop Version

  1. Toast the nuts in the oven first. Next, make a traditional caramel in a saucepan with 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon butter and toss in the nuts when ready.  Try using a bit of Grand Marnier or other liqueur in the caramel and then pour onto parchment paper to cool.

Sweet-Dusted Nuts

Whether it’s cocoa, mint powder, cinnamon or vanilla, making sweetened nuts is simple and a great alternative to chocolate and candy. Sweet-dusted nuts are great chopped and sprinkled on oatmeal, yogurt or ice cream.

  1. Toss nuts in whisked egg white, just enough to coat, then add powdered spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice or ginger, and a sprinkle of sugar. 
  2. Toss well then transfer to a lined baking sheet and bake on a low heat, 250°F, for 30-40 minutes or until golden and the mixture is caramelized on the nuts.

For Cocoa- or Mint-Dusted Nuts:

  1. Soften ¼ cup honey until runny. Add a few drops of vanilla if desired, then add 1 cup roasted nuts and toss to coat well. Strain off excess liquid. 
  2. Place cocoa in bowl, add nuts and toss to coat all nuts. The best way to do this is to lift and shake the bowl. Spread on a lined tray to dry. 
  3. For Mint-dusted Nuts, combine ¼ cup each: powdered sugar and cornstarch. Add a few drops of peppermint essence.
  4. Add nuts to coat and proceed as above.

Nut Butter


You won’t go back to store bought nut butter after making your own. It’s easy to do, tastes so much fresher, you can use any nut or even a blend, and, most importantly, you know exactly what’s going in it.  All you need is a food processor or high-speed blender. Each nut behaves differently because of texture and oil content, and different processors will take different times, so it’s really a matter of experimentation. 


  • 1 cup of tree nuts (choose your favorite)


  1. Roast 1 cup of nuts. You can use raw nuts, but the flavors and ability to make butter are greatly enhanced after roasting in a 350°F oven for 8-12 minutes. The denser nuts – almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts and macadamias – take a bit longer than walnuts, pecans and pistachios. Check after 8 minutes; they should be just browning and aromatic. Allow to cool to room temperature. Hazelnuts can be bitter if you keep on the skin, so place the nuts in a dish towel and rub off most of the skin before processing.
  2. Add nuts to food processor and pulse on and off, first to crumbs, then continue to process until a paste starts to form. Scrape down sides, then continue to process until desired consistency. This may take 10-12 minutes, sometimes up to 20 minutes in less powerful processors. If it’s not looking like a paste is forming, add a few drops of a nut or olive oil to help the process. 
  3. Flavor (or not). You may just like to eat your nut butter pure and natural, or make your own designer butter adding ingredients such as honey, maple syrup, soy, chili, nutmeg, chocolate (think Nutella) truffle oil, or stir in jam or jelly to make a swirl.


Storage – It’s best to store the nut butter in a sealed jar in the refrigerator where it will keep for up to a month.


  • Almond butter: Spread on warm bruschetta and top with sautéed mushrooms (wonderful with chanterelles if they’re in season) and sage. Finish with a squeeze of lemon and pepper.
  • Walnut butter: Spread crackers with walnut butter, then top with brie cheese and a fruit paste such as quince or fig. Then all you need is wine!
  • Hazelnut butter: Add to a toasted tomato and cheese sandwich with some fresh basil leaves or arugula and a drizzle of good olive oil to complete the experience.
  • Pecan butter: The sweet, rich and toasty notes of pecan butter need little to make it great. Simply spread on grain toast with honey and a sliced banana for a delicious meal.
  • Pistachio butter: Spread on pizza crust before topping with vegetables, mortadella and mozzarella.
  • Cashew butter: Perfect for Asian-inspired dishes. Whisk cashew butter with soy sauce and lime juice and toss through noodles just before serving.
  • Brazil nut butter: Avocado toast spread with Brazil nut butter adds a unique depth and is especially great with a garnish of cherry tomatoes, mint and ricotta.
  • Macadamia Butter: Just like real butter, macadamia butter makes the base to a wonderful healthier shortbread, or spread it on hot scones with jam for a decadent treat.

Pumpkin Walnut Bread


You will fall in love with this ultimate pumpkin bread recipe loaded with California walnuts, aromatic fall spices and a crunchy sugar crust.


  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup chopped California walnuts
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • Top with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and coat with flour.
  2. Whisk together flour, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, salt, baking soda and nutmeg in a large. Add walnuts and toss to coat.
  3. Whisk together pumpkin puree, oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and eggs in a medium bowl until smooth.
  4. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened, being careful not to over mix.
  5. Spread batter in prepared pan and sprinkle sugar evenly over the top.
  6. Bake for 65 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before removing from pan and slicing.

Pistachio Cucumber Smash Cocktail


  • 1 1⁄2 ounces Hendrick’s Gin
  • 3⁄4 ounce Pistachio cordial*
  • 3⁄4 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 2 slices fresh cucumber
  • 4 leaves fresh mint


  1. Muddle (gently mash) cucumber then add other ingredients in a cocktail shaker
  2. Add ice and shake well for 20 seconds
  3. Strain over fresh ice in an Old Fashioned glass
  4. Garnish with cucumber, mint and a couple of pistachios.

Pistachio Cordial – Instructions (Makes 8 ounces)

  1. Combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a pan. Bring to a low simmer and stir for a few minutes until sugar has fully dissolved.
  2. In a blender place 1/2 cup unsalted, roasted pistachios and add the sugar water
  3. Optional – add 1 drop of rosewater
  4. Blend for 30 seconds and allow to sit for 2 minutes
  5. Strain out solids and collect cordial
  6. Keep refrigerated until ready to use

Pistachio Rim

  1. Put half a cup of dry, raw pistachios in a blender or spice grinder and grind finely.
  2. Be careful not to overgrind as any moisture will turn the ground pistachios into a paste.
  3. Pour your ground pistachios onto a small plate or bowl.
  4. Moisten the outside rim of your glass with a cut wedge of lemon or by using some sugar water.
  5. Then dip the glass upside down into the powdered pistachios so that they stick well onto the rim of the glass.
  6. Give the glass a gentle tap before turning the right way up, then fill with ice ready to receive the cocktail.

Almond Horchata with Honey & Spice


Created by Chef Christine Farkas of IHeart Food Consulting on behalf of the Almond Board of California.


  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 cups unsweetened rice milk
  • 8 tablespoons almond protein powder
  • 1 ½ tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ vanilla bean, scraped (optional)
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 cinnamon sticks, as garnish
  • ice, as needed


  1. Place both milks, protein powder, honey, vanilla, ground cinnamon and sea salt in a blender and process until smooth.
  2. Pour over ice, garish with cinnamon stick, and enjoy immediately, or portion into bottles, refrigerate and enjoy for snacking on the go.