In our last issue, Part One
of this article explored the nutritional benefits of almonds as well
as the in's and out's of almond flour, and almond milk. If you
haven't had a chance to read it yet, check
it out before you start Part Two here!
Some of the most amazing low-carb foods and snacks are almond based,
for high fiber, healthy fats, great taste, and low carbohydrates.
Here, we're going to highlight some of them!
It pretty much goes without saying that the number one almond snack
is to just munch them as whole almonds. Either toasted or
natural, or even with flavors added. They come in bags, cans, jars,
and foil-packs. I've found that some of the specialty
candy and nut stores — especially in malls, and especially in big cities — carry
spicy and exotically flavored almonds. Just make sure they aren't
covered in sugars! If you like the "sweet" kind, you can always make
them yourself. We've included a recipe below!
But there's a lot more to almond snacking... they are the key ingredient
in some very tasty treats appropriate to low-carbers. One of our favorites
is Almond Butter! It's a great change from
the usual peanut butter, has a more "rustic" flavor, and is lower carb
than peanut butter. Use it in recipes where peanut butter is called for
(add a teaspoon of butter to allow for extra creaminess in most recipes),
spread it on your favorite low-carb bread toasted, or lay it across crisp
celery hearts for a unique treat.
Now here's an interesting almond product — Almond Cheese! Even though as low-carbers we
can have (and really enjoy) all the REAL cheeses available, we simply love
almond cheese as a totally different food, rather than a substitute. Our favorite is
a brand called Lisanatti®. They make an Almond Mozzarella style cheese with bits of
brown-skinned almonds worked throughout the cheese. It's almost a cross between
almond paste and Mozzarella cheese and we find it to be a delightful treat.
Eaten very cold and sliced paper thin, it's delicious. It comes in at about 3
carbs per serving. The Lisanatti products are available at Wholefoods, Wild Oats
and other health food stores. They provide a number, 503-652-1988, to find
a store near you.
One of the most "fun" products we've found to have on hand in our low carb kitchens
are the Almond Accents from Sunkist®. They come in six tangy flavors,
so there's something for everyone: Bacon Cheddar, Garlic Teriyaki, Italian Parmesan, Ranch Style, Nacho Cheese, and Roasted Garlic Caesar.
These thin little almond slices are
"frosted" with spices and rich flavors and retain a respectful
crunch no matter how you use them. They're ideal as a crouton
stand-in for your salads, delicious as a topping on stir-frys, and
add a whole new dimension crumbled over many dishes! But
they're wonderfully crunchy little snacks all by themselves too.
And since they come in recloseable foil-paks, they're ideal for
Lastly, we have to mention those tasty little cracker rounds from Blue Diamond called Almond Nut Thins. They have an exceptionally
buttery taste and are VERY crisp. They remind me very much of buttered popcorn.
They contain no sugars or white flour, but they are not "free" food, as they do
contain rice flour. Before you see the nutrition label and have a heart-attack
when you see the carb count, it's because their "serving size" is for 16 crackers!
They work out to about 1.2 grams per cracker and I have found that 3 – 5 crackers is
just right as an accompaniment — especially when topped with mounds of low-carb
Proper Storage Tips:
With proper handling, natural almonds may be stored up to two years and roasted
almonds for a year. Shelf life increases under refrigeration. Optimal temperature
for storage is 32 to 41° F, 0 to 5° C. Optimal humidity for storage is 65% relative
humidity. Ground Almonds (almond flour) should always be kept under refrigeration,
or frozen. In the freezer, almond flour will remain fresh for up to a year.
Broccoli with Almond Butter
To make almond butter:
Soften butter in mixer, add lemon juice, zest and almonds.
- 1 head fresh broccoli
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Juice of 1/6 a lemon
Cut broccoli head. Blanch broccoli and toss with almond butter.
Tip: The citric acid in the almond butter will discolour broccoli
if allowed to stand longer than 20 minutes
Makes 4 servings — 5 grams of carbohydrate per serving.
Smoky Blues Dressing or Dip
Smoky Blues dressing is a savory dressing for salads, or a
smoke flavored dip for low carb veggies. This recipe features Blue Diamond
Place almonds in food processor; cover. Process until coarsely chopped.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds
- 4 ounces blue or Gorgonzola cheese, softened
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Combine heavy cream, mayonnaise, sour cream, almonds, cheese, vinegar
and black pepper in medium bowl; cover. Refrigerate for 2 hours before
Makes about 3 1/2 cups — 24 carbs in entire recipe.
Makes 14 1/4-cup
servings — About 1 1/2 grams of carbohydrate per serving.
NOTE: To use as a dip, reduce cream to 1/2 cup.
Pan Roasted Chicken Breasts
Stuffed with Almonds, Mascarpone and Lemon
Blend in a food processor or in a pestle and mortar the roasted almonds
until roughly smashed. Then add the tablespoons of mascarpone, lemon zest
and juice. Blend and season.
- 4 large boneless chicken breasts, skin on
- 1/2 cup of Roasted Almonds with Coriander, Chili and Olive Oil (see recipe below)
- 6 large heaped tablespoons of mascarpone cheese
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 cup Chardonnay
- Olive oil
- Sea salt and ground black pepper
- 2 bulbs of fennel
- 1 lb fresh spinach
- salt and pepper
Working from one side of the chicken breast slip your fingers in-between
the skin and the flesh, being careful not to completely remove the skin.
Push one good spoonful of the almond-mascarpone paste in the gap of each
breast then press the skin firmly back, saving any left over paste.
Take a hot non-stick pan, drizzle it with a little olive oil and place
the breasts skin side down. After a minute when lightly golden turn to
seal the other side. (If you don’t have a pan with a metal handle
transfer to a roasting tray at this point.) Place in the pre-heated
oven 425ºF for around 10 minutes until cooked.
Meanwhile cut the fennel in half lengthwise, then into thin slices.
Throw into a medium hot pan with a little olive oil and seasoning, stir
in a couple of tablespoons of water. Cover and leave to cook slowly –
about 5 to 10 minutes.
When the chicken is cooked remove to a warm plate and rest for 5 minutes,
whilst you move the pan or tray back on the heat and add the glass of wine
and stock, allow to cook down to almost nothing, not forgetting to scrape
the pan bottom for all its goodness. Finish the sauce by stirring in the
rest of the mascarpone and any remaining paste, keep on the heat so it
continues to simmer until it coats the back of a spoon. Season to taste.
By this point the fennel should be just cooked season and chuck in the
spinach, leave to wilt down . Serve the chicken with the fennel and
spinach, drizzle the sauce over and around the chicken.
Serves 4 — 3.2 grams of carbohydrate per serving.
Roasted Almonds with Coriander, Chili and Olive Oil
(Use with recipe above)
Add the olive oil and almonds to a hot saute pan. Saute and kind of
toast the almonds until golden brown, shaking the pan regularly to
color them evenly and accentuate their nutty flavor. Crumble in the
chili and coriander to taste and add the sea salt. Toss over and
serve hot on a large plate.
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups blanched almonds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
- 1 to 3 small dried red chili peppers
- 2 generous pinches of sea salt
Almonds used to be a great feature of British cookery, when they
were used, toasted, as a garnish and flavoring for green beans, or,
pounded, as a thickener for sauces or to lighten cakes and puddings.
In this recipe they make a pearly and delicate soup.
Put the ground almonds with 3/4 cup cream and 1/4 cup water in a small
saucepan and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
- 3/4 cup Ground almonds (almond flour)
- 3/4 cup cream
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 Tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs from low-carb bread *
- 3 Tablespoons Butter
- 1 Tablespoon oat flour
- Guar or Xanthan gum
- 2 pints Chicken stock
- Salt, cayenne pepper, ground mace
- 1 cup additional cream (heavy cream - 36- 40% milkfat)
- Slivered or thinly sliced almonds (handful)
- 1 Tablespoon additional Butter
Add low carb bread crumbs and simmer for 3 minutes more; then liquidize
or rub to a purée with a spoon.
In a large pan, melt the 3 Tablespoons butter, add the oat flour and
stir it in then stir in the almond purée.
Gradually add the stock and when you have a smooth soup, season with
salt, cayenne pepper and ground mace.
Simmer slowly for 10 minutes and then remove from the heat and stir
in the 1 cup additional cream. Heat through gently. As you heat,
sprinkle a small bit of guar or xanthan gum into soup, stirring
constantly until getting the consistency you want. (Use only a small
bit and it's best sprinkled from a salt or pepper type shaker.)
Meanwhile fry the slivered almonds to a golden brown in the tablespoon
of butter and scatter them on the soup just before serving.
* I make this with crumbs from Irene's Health Bakery Bread that comes in at 4 carbs per
slice and is an excellent "white" bread.
Makes 8 servings — 5.5 grams of carbohydrate per serving.
Roast almonds at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes.
- 2 1/2 lb. shelled almonds
- 1/2 cup Splenda plus 1/2 cup Diabetisweet mixed
- 3 egg whites
are roasting continually beat sweeteners and egg whites. When almonds
are roasted, add (while hot) to sweet mixture, coating well. Spread out on
wooden board to dry. When dry, separate almonds, breaking off any
We hope you've enjoyed our two-part series on almonds and their healthful, delicious,
and versatile uses!
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