Almonds: A healthy snack and a versatile ingredient

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Almonds: A healthy snack and a versatile ingredient

You can eat almonds raw or toasted or add them to sweet, savoury dishes

Almonds: A healthy snack and a versatile ingredient

Those almonds you pop as a midday snack are said to be ‘ancient Indian medicinal wisdom’. It’s not a mere coincidence that almonds have been featured in Indian culture and traditions just as prominently as they do in Ayurvedic texts. 

In terms of Indian culture and tradition, almonds are one of the few natural foods that enjoy the halo of being used as an offering to the Gods and as coveted gifts to friends and family on festive occasions. Almonds are also used in various recipes during several auspicious and important events.

Mothers ensure that their school-aged kids consume almonds daily to help improve their cognitive and academic performance. Another widely-practiced custom of serving almond-laden milk to the groom on his wedding night has its roots in a commonly held belief that almonds not only act as an aphrodisiac but also help increase vitality. Ground almonds in milk are considered a healthy protein source and are consumed by traditional wrestlers to help improve strength and energy. Since these practices have their roots in the Ayurvedic text, a comprehensive search of published Ayurveda and related traditional medicinal texts is imperative for a better understanding of all health-related almond benefits.

People call almonds a nut, but they are seeds, rather than a true nut. Almonds contain vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber, and so they may offer a number of health benefits. Just a handful of almonds contains one-eighth of a person’s daily protein needs.

People can eat almonds raw or toasted as a snack or add them to sweet or savoury dishes. They are also available as flaked, sliced, slivered, as oil, flour, almond milk, or butter.

Here are some dietitian-approved indulgent yet healthy dishes that can be made with almonds:

Almond choco-chip cookies

Skillet chocolate chip almond flour cookies are a simple gluten-free dessert! All you need is 1 bowl and 5 minutes of hands-on time.

These chocolate chip almond flour cookies are easy to make and baked right in a skillet! They’ve got just the right texture: chewy, caramely, and dense, which comes from the mix of almond flour, brown sugar, and butter or coconut oil.

It’s also gluten-free and dairy-free, so it works for a variety of diets. And most importantly for us, it’s incredibly simple: mix all ingredients in a bowl, dump it in a skillet, and bake.

To make the almond flour cookies, you simply mix together almond flour, sugar, butter, egg white and chocolate chips. Then, press it into a skillet, and bake! After baking, slice into wedges and serve. You can serve it right from the skillet while the chocolate is melting, or make it in advance and allow it to cool to room temperature. We also like cutting this one into tiny squares and serving little bites of chocolate chip almond flour cookies.

Almond chocolate Cake

Dense flourless chocolate almond cake is perfect for celebrations, made with ground almonds, maple syrup and of course chocolate.

Here’s how to make chocolate almond cake:

Melt the butter, maple syrup and chocolate together. Mix it together with eggs, almond meal or flour, and cinnamon. Pour it into greased 5-inch ramekins and bake for about 35 minutes. Allow to cool, then dust with powdered sugar.

In the spirit of treat food, here’s a chocolate almond cake that’s a splurge and full of whole foods, too. It’s rich, chocolatey and delicious, but made with ground almonds and maple syrup.

Almond coconut bar

These coconut almond bars are a delightful homemade candy bar recipe filled with toasted coconut and topped with chocolate, caramel, and crunchy almonds!

Here’s how to make almond-coconut bars:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. On a large baking sheet, spread coconut into a single layer. Bake for 10-15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Coconut should be lightly browned when done. Remove and cool.

For the crust, beat together butter, corn syrup, brown sugar, almond extract, and egg yolk until smooth. Add flour, baking powder, and salt and beat until fully combined.

Pat dough into the bottom of a greased baking dish. Bake for 5- 6 minutes (it will not be fully cooked) in a 350°F oven.

While THE crust is baking, combine the toasted coconut, almond extract, sweetened condensed milk in a bowl. Drop by tablespoon onto the partially baked crust. Return to THE oven and bake FOR an additional 20-22 minutes, until edges of crust are lightly browned.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with milk chocolate chips immediately. Drizzle caramel sauce over the top and add sliced almonds. Allow to cool completely. Once cooled, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

This wonder seed is rich in nutrients and packed with health, hair and skin benefits. Do try these lip-smacking healthy recipes at home.