Nuts about nuts - recipes

Everything you want to know about nuts...

Lamb chops with pistachio pesto. Picture: Shayne RobinsonSpicy nuts.  Picture: Shayne RobinsonSpinach and ricotta ravioli walnut sauce. Picture: Shayne RobinsonHazelnut cake. Picture: Shayne Robinson


Contain a high concentration of omega-3 fats and because of this high concentration of fats go rancid very quickly. Shelled nuts should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for no longer than six months. Used in sweet and savoury dishes.


Have a creamy flavour and a crunchy texture. They are high in fat, but do not contain any cholesterol.

The healthiest way to eat these nuts is unsalted and lightly roasted. Used in sweet or savoury dishes. Macadamia nut butter is available as an alternative to peanut butter.


Have a lower fat content than most other nuts. About 75 percent of their fat is unsaturated fatty acids, 75 percent of which is oleic acid, the same monounsaturated fat found in olive oil.


Contain nearly 91 percent monounsaturated fat and less than four percent saturated fat. An excellent source of protein, especially for vegetarians. Often associated with chocolate spread.


These nuts are considered exotic because they are used mainly in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. They have many health benefits – 30g of pistachio nuts, about 49 nuts, contains more than 10 percent of the daily requirement of dietary fibre. You can get more from a serving of pistachios than half a cup of broccoli or spinach.


The good fats in pecan nuts help to lower cholesterol levels. Pecans are often substituted for walnuts and are used in both sweet and savoury dishes.



Serves 4

100g shelled pistachio nuts

250ml fresh breadcrumbs

grated rind of 1 lemon

2 cloves garlic, crushed

250ml freshly grated Parmesan cheese

good handful of fresh basil

125 -150ml olive oil

salt and pepper

8 lamb chops

extra olive oil

Place nuts, breadcrumbs, rind, garlic, Parmesan and basil into a food processor and blend to form a paste.

With machine running, add in the oil and process to form a thick sauce.

Season with salt and pepper.

Remove the sauce and set aside.

Brush the chops with olive oil and cook on a griddle pan for 3-4 minutes on each side.

Season with salt and pepper and serve with the pesto.


500g mixed, unsalted nuts

1 egg white, lightly whipped

5ml ground cumin

5ml ground coriander

5ml garam marsala

5ml paprika

pinch of ground chilli

10ml salt flakes

45ml brown sugar

Place the nuts into a mixing bowl and add all the remaining ingredients.

Toss well to coat nuts with spices.

Spread nuts on to a large baking tray in a single layer and bake at 180°C for 20 minutes until nuts are no longer sticky.

Switch off the oven and leave the nuts in for another 15 minutes.

This is delicious served as nibbles with drinks.


1 slice of white bread

125ml milk

100g walnuts, lightly toasted

45ml chopped parsley

125ml cream

500g spinach-and-ricotta-filled ravioli

Soak the bread in the milk for a few minutes, then squeeze out and discard milk.

Roughly chop the nuts, reserving a few for garnishing.

Process bread, walnuts, garlic and parsley in a food processor until it forms a paste.

Transfer to a bowl and mix in the cream.

Season to taste. Cook ravioli and drain, retaining a little of the cooking liquid.

Return pasta to the pan and add the sauce. If necessary, add in a little cooking liquid to make the sauce creamier. Serve sprinkled with nuts.


Makes 1 cake

180g butter, softened

250ml golden brown sugar

3 extra large eggs

375ml flour

7ml baking powder

5ml cinnamon

pinch of salt

60ml milk

45ml chocolate spread

50g hazelnuts, skins removed and roughly chopped

extra chocolate spread for topping

Combine butter and sugar in a big bowl and beat until creamy.

Beat in eggs one at a time.

Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and add to creamed mixture alternately with milk.

Spoon half the mixture into a greased and lined 20cm cake pan.

Place spoonfuls of chocolate spread over mixture and top with remaining mixture.

Sprinkle hazelnuts evenly over surface. Bake at 180°C for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when tested.

Turn cake out on to cooling rack. Drizzle with chocolate spread when completely cooled.

To skin hazelnuts, place them on a baking tray and bake at 180°C for 5-6 minutes or until lightly browned. Place hot nuts on a clean tea towel, fold over the towel and rub vigorously until the skins are removed.