You might think that a list of walnut recipes would be full of cakes and cookies, but walnuts are way more versatile than that.
They have a mild yet slightly bitter taste, and they’re no more expensive than almonds, cashews, or Brazil nuts.
And let’s not forget they’re rich in antioxidants and heart-healthy fats, and they become super creamy and buttery when toasted and processed.
But what can you make with them?
How about a vegan “cheese” sauce for your next party? Or a batch of fresh walnut pesto?
If you’re sick of almonds and cashews, I guarantee you’ll find more than one walnut recipe here to get you excited.
1. 5-Minute Candied Walnuts
Caramelized nuts are a lovely little snack and a simple yet delicious cake decorating option.
Typically, you would boil sugar and water until the sugar dissolves and then add in your nuts, constantly stirring until everything turns golden.
This takes a little while and a lot of elbow grease.
This recipe, however, is a great shortcut. You’ll toss everything into a skillet, making a simple caramel sauce while the walnuts toast.
Once the sugar is melted, and the nuts are coated, pour everything onto a lined baking tray and do your best to separate the nuts so they can cool and set.
2. Cinnamon and Walnut Porridge
I know how easy it is to microwave a bowl of instant oats, but I promise this homemade oatmeal recipe is worth the extra time.
And by “extra time,” I mean it takes 5 minutes on the stovetop!
When everything is cooked and creamy, scatter over some walnuts and a dusting of cinnamon and enjoy.
Or, those candied walnuts from above would be excellent in this dish.
3. Vegan Walnut Cheese Sauce
Vegan “cheese” can be a tough sell to meat-eaters, and I totally get it.
I mean, how can a bowl of nuts, water, and seasonings taste anything like a hot dish of Qdoba queso?
The truth is, this isn’t the hot queso you know and love. Instead, it’s more like cheesy hummus.
The walnuts are impossibly buttery and give this fantastic texture, while the nutritional yeast adds a delightfully nutty and cheesy taste.
4. Basil Walnut Pesto
If you love pesto as much as I do, I’m sure you’ve looked online for some tasty DIY recipes. The only issue with that is the cost of pine nuts.
Who knew they were so expensive? They grow in forests, and harvesting them takes a LOT of labor, which makes them pretty pricey.
The good news is that walnuts make the perfect pine nut alternative.
Pine nuts have a pretty mild flavor, and since you’ll blend the nuts with basil, garlic, parsley, and Parmesan cheese, I’ll bet nobody will even know you made this recipe with wallet-friendly nuts.
5. Apple Walnut Salad
The combination of fresh, crisp apple slices, toasty walnuts, and smooth blue cheese in this salad will leave you wanting more.
As with any recipe like this, you’ll need to toast the nuts before adding them to the bowl. This helps to release their natural oils and enhance the flavor.
I like to make the salad almost completely, but toast and add the nuts at the last minute.
That little bit of warmth makes such a nice change and will melt the blue cheese, too.
6. Walnut Pasta Sauce
Ask any vegan, and they’ll tell you: you can have your creamy mac and cheese and eat it too!
What’s the secret to vegan pasta sauce? Walnuts, dairy-free milk, and nutritional yeast.
Like the cheese sauce recipe from above, this is super creamy and cheesy.
Only, this version is much thinner and will coat your pasta like a dream.
7. Chocolate Chip Walnut Pumpkin Bread
Pumpkin bread is moist, spicey, super flavorful, and one of my all-time fall faves.
I love it with brown sugar crumble on top and plenty of dark chocolate chips inside.
It’s also extra scrumptious when you throw in a decent handful of chopped walnuts.
My advice is to keep the walnuts pretty large; that way, you don’t feel like the bread is full of seeds.
I prefer the occasional bite of the nut rather than bits in every mouthful that get stuck in your teeth.
8. Best Ever Banana Nut Muffins
Banana nut muffins work as a sweet breakfast option, tasty mid-morning snack, and even as a midnight treat in front of the tv.
The key to getting the best flavor is to start with ripe bananas.
The peels should be brown and spotty, and when you peel them, they should be super fragrant.
Also, to get that ultra-light and fluffy center, be sure you don’t over-work the batter.
Instead, just gently stir everything until it comes together and get those babies in the oven asap.
9. Cranberry and Walnut Stuffing
If your family is anything like mine, you’ll probably need a few dishes full of stuffing to keep everyone happy.
After all, it’s one of the best holiday sides, so it’s crucial everyone gets their fair share.
Not only is this stuffing recipe nutty and full of poultry-friendly herbs, but it’s also loaded with fresh cranberries for beautiful pops of color and flavor.
Of course, you can make this with veggie stock if you want it meat-free.
10. Carrot Slaw with Cranberries, Toasted Walnuts & Citrus Vinaigrette
How many times have you been subjected to watery, bland coleslaw?
It’s sad because slaw is so easy to get right. This recipe, for example, is one of the best out there and will brighten up your meal in a snap.
As the title suggests, carrots are the main ingredient, and they’re crunchy, sweet, and vibrant.
That being said, you can easily throw in some cabbage if you want to bulk this out.
Once the walnuts are toasted, it’s just a matter of tossing all the ingredients together.
11. No-Bake Walnut Granola Bars
Many store-bought granola bars are full of sugars and artificial preservatives, and those that aren’t are usually pretty expensive.
So, why not try making your own? Using this recipe as a base, you can modify it so easily to make all kinds of fun flavors.
For example, I made a batch recently with golden raisins, chia seeds, and dried mango.
I’ve also made some with freeze-dried raspberries and dark chocolate chunks.
I think my next batch will have peanut butter and banana chips!
12. Blanched Kale With Walnuts and Raisins
This blanched kale side salad is perfect to go alongside some juicy pork chops or tender steak.
Not only does it look great with the dark greens and streaks of color, but it’s super simple to whip up last minute.
Of course, if kale isn’t your thing, feel free to use spinach instead.
Just keep in mind that though kale will shrink as it cooks, spinach tends to wilt a lot more, so you may need to reduce the cooking time.
13. Walnut Meat
If you’re not vegan, you might be wondering what exactly walnut meat is.
I know I’ve never seen it on a menu before, but it was a certified hit on my last meatless Monday!
Walnut meat is a ground blend of walnuts and mushrooms with a bit of soy sauce and salt and pepper to taste.
The idea is to use it as a ground meat substitute in everything from tacos and nachos to pasta and salads.
This recipe even offers some seasoning options depending on how you want to use it.
14. Zucchini Walnut Fried Rice
Fried rice is a quick and easy dish you can whip up with pretty much whatever you have in the fridge.
The trick is to start with cold, cooked rice, so it doesn’t turn to mush.
This dish is best when you slice the zucchini very thin, which is easier to do with a mandolin.
Between the veggies and the walnuts, this is bursting with fresh flavors and incredible texture.
15. Walnut Crusted Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner
I’m a sucker for “crusted” salmon, but I usually go for seasoned breadcrumbs and pecans.
For this version, you’ll mix chopped walnuts with mustard, maple syrup, olive oil, paprika, salt, and pepper before pouring it right over the half-cooked salmon steaks.
If you were to add the mix too soon, it would burn in the oven, so be sure to spoon it over after around 15 minutes.
16. Unbelievable Walnut Crusted Chicken
If you like the recipe above, you’ll go nuts for this incredible walnut-crusted chicken.
This recipe uses honey rather than maple syrup, and instead of pouring over a walnut sauce, you’ll dredge the chicken in a flour and walnut mix (as you might with breadcrumbs).
Next, you’ll sear the chicken to help the coating stick and finish the whole thing with a sweet and warm honey mustard glaze.
17. Walnut Brownie Protein Balls
Energy bites are a terrific little snack to keep you full on a busy day. They also work well as a quick breakfast or an after-workout protein boost.
Where many protein balls are made using dates and oats, this recipe takes it up a notch.
It uses chopped walnuts and chia seeds for texture, honey and dates for sweetness, walnut butter as a binder, and cocoa powder and chocolate chips for a touch of indulgence.
18. Lemon-Walnut Quinoa & Chickpea Salad
Adding quinoa and chickpeas to your salad will give you a boost of protein, keep you satisfied longer, and make that boring bowl of lettuce something to get excited about.
The dressing for this salad calls for walnut oil, which I’ve found in my local supermarket, and in Home Sense/Home Goods in the food section.
It leaves the salad with a slightly sweet and nutty undertone that works so well against the lemon juice.
19. Coffee and Walnut Cake
Coffee and walnut cake is an absolute classic British teatime cake. You’ll find it all over in bakeries and cafes, and they take it pretty seriously.
You’ll add coffee and walnuts to both the cake batter and the frosting, so if you were hoping for a light coffee flavor, you’re out of luck.
The coffee taste should be very pronounced in this cake!
One of the most traditional ways to decorate this cake is to cover the whole thing with frosting and coat it with finely chopped walnuts.
20. Walnut Brownies
I think brownies might just be the perfect baked treat.
They’re fantastic no matter how they come out, whether they’re cakey, fudgy, full of nuts, covered with ganache, or served warm with ice cream.
These brownies are bursting with sweet and nutty, toasted walnuts.
You’ll get a mouthful with each bite, and since they’re not crunchy, they’ll just add a bit of texture to otherwise soft brownies.
21. French Walnut-Caramel Tart
When I tell you that this pie is to die for, I’m not exaggerating.
It has a light, buttery pastry crust, and it’s filled with a sweet, rich, and wonderfully sticky walnut and caramel filling.
I know pecan pie is a classic, but I highly recommend making this instead!
The filling needs just seven simple ingredients, and you’ll make a quick caramel to start with.
Then, once it’s smooth and golden, you’ll mix through the walnuts and sea salt.
22. Chinese Walnut Cookies
I know these look a little like mini-bread rolls, but they’re actually walnut shortbread cookies.
The cookie dough is a quick blend of flour, sugar, butter, and rising agents, which gets finely chopped walnuts mixed in towards the end.
To get that golden top, you’ll brush them with egg wash before baking.
23. Deliciously Moist Banana Bread Recipe
Do you have a couple of bananas on the counter that are a little too ripe?
You know, when the skin is brown-black, and they smell super fragrant?
Then you just have to make this unbelievably moist banana bread!
It’s light and fluffy, perfectly sweet, and full of buttery walnuts for an added bit of nutty goodness.
It’s also even more delicious if you throw in some mini-chocolate chips.
24. Salted Maple And Toasted Walnut Brittle
Brittle is a tasty, salty, super sweet treat that’s typically made with corn syrup.
It acts as a source of sweetness and helps to prevent the sugar from crystallizing as it cooks.
Unfortunately, it’s not the best ingredient, and I know many people would prefer not to eat it.
This maple brittle is just as sweet and salty, but it only uses 100% pure maple syrup for a more natural finish.
One thing to note is that you’ll need a candy thermometer for this recipe, so you’ll know when the sugar mix is at the right temperature.
If you eyeball it and it’s not quite 300 degrees Fahrenheit, it won’t set right and will be soft rather than crunchy.
25. Applesauce Cake
Using applesauce in your cake batter will add subtle apple flavor, lots of moisture, and make the cake extra fluffy.
The apple will enhance the warm spices, and it’s extra tasty when it’s chock full of raisins and walnuts.
For something even more irresistible, try soaking the raisins in warm, sweet tea to plump them up.
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