These are the best walnut recipes that have ever graced my kitchen, and all you need is a blender to make them. Have I sold you yet?
Walnuts are an absolute staple ingredient in my fridge because there are so many ways to use them. When I’m not snacking at walnuts by themselves, I’m tossing them into granola, adding them to cookies, or stuffing them into medjool dates. But all of those easy snacks aside, nothing beats the two recipes I’m about to share with you here – my Toasted Walnut and Date Truffles and my Walnut Pesto White Bean Dip. These exemplify the ways in which you can use walnuts in plant-forward yet inventive ways in the kitchen.
Toasted Walnut & Date Truffles
I am absolutely convinced that my dad is one of the biggest walnut fans out there, and he’s always relied on a favorite snack to get him through the day: medjool dates stuffed with walnuts. I was inspired by his favorite snack to make something that translated well from a snack to a healthy dessert, and I have to say, I’m pretty excited about the result. These Toasted Walnut and Date Truffles are the perfect snack and treat that I cannot get enough of.
I decided to toast the walnuts that go both inside the truffle and rolled on the outside to extract their delicious nutty and toasty flavor. To make the truffle itself, all you do is combine your dates, toasted walnuts, coconut, and a little vanilla extract into your blender and blend to form a sticky dough. Once you mold your dough into truffles, let them chill in the freezer while you melt your chocolate!
Rolling these truffles in smooth chocolate and then in the toasted, crushed walnuts, give these truffles layers of texture that make them both delicious and exciting to eat. I love to eat these with my coffee or before a workout for a nutritious, sweet snack.
Walnut Pesto White Bean Dip
On the savory side, this Walnut Pesto White Bean Dip is something I truly cannot stop dreaming about (or snacking on). I find that dips are always the most low maintenance and versatile snacks to keep around and serve, as they are great as a pair with crudités or your favorite crackers. Not to mention, they’re perfect for entertaining and serving at a party (even if you party is a party of one, it still counts)!
This is truly one of the best dips I’ve ever created. We start by making the pesto and listen, I absolutely must have walnuts in my pesto as they add richness without being too heavy, and tons of important nutrients. For example, walnuts offer us important nutrients, like ALA omega-3 fatty acid, which have been studied in connection with brain health. We all want some food for thought, am I right? The cool thing about walnuts is that they can be seasoned to meet a variety of flavors – whether that’s sweet (like in my truffles) or savory like in this dip.
To make the tangy, zesty pesto, all we do is add walnuts, basil, olive oil, lemon, and spices into our blender. Once we have our pesto all blended up, we can use the same blender to add our white beans, tahini, lemon juice, and season to taste. Once you blend it up and add a little water to thin to your desired consistency, you have the most dreamy and creamy Walnut Pesto Dip. I love finding ways to sneak walnuts into my plant-based creations for more nutrients (protein, 4g; magnesium 45mg, omega-3 ALA 2.5g/oz) and flavor.
I hope you enjoy both of these incredible walnut recipes, and make sure to tag me on Instagram @dadaeats when you make them! Thank you so much to my friends at California Walnuts for everything they do, and for partnering with me on this post to help me bring you these recipes!
Toasted Walnut and Date Truffles (Vegan & Gluten-Free)
- 1 1/4 cup toasted walnuts
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut
- 1 cup medjool dates 9-10 large dates
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 1 tsp coconut oil
Heat a medium skillet to medium heat. Add your walnuts and dry toast, tossing them on the skillet for about 3-5 minutes until they smell toasty and fragrant. Set aside to cool completely.
Once the walnuts have cooled, add ¾ cup of the toasted walnuts (reserve the rest for later…we’ll get to them!) into your blender along with the coconut, medjool dates, and vanilla extract.
Blend until a sticky, thick dough is achieved. Don’t worry if it’s not 100% pulverized – we like some texture here!
Roll the dough out into truffles using 1 tbsp per truffle. Feel free to make the truffles as big or as small as you’d like.
Once you’ve rolled the dough into all of your cute truffles, place them on a parchment lined plate or sheet and transfer to the freezer to set. While the truffles are in the freezer, prepare your chocolate!
Add the chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl with the coconut oil. Melt in 15 second increments, stirring throughout, until the chocolate is smooth and glossy.
Using the ½ toasted walnuts that you have remaining, chop them very finely. Set aside.
Remove the truffles from the freezer.
Roll each truffle in melted chocolate, and then into the crushed walnuts, ensuring the chocolate is completely coated by the nuts. Transfer each truffle back to the parchment lined plate or sheet.
Once you’ve assembled all of the truffles, place in the freezer so the chocolate can harden, for about 30 minutes. Remove and enjoy!
Store the truffles in the fridge for a softer bite, or the freezer for a firmer one.
Walnut Pesto White Bean Dip
- 1/3 cup walnuts
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 cups fresh basil loosely packed
- 1/2 cup olive oil plus more for garnish
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 15 oz can white beans drained
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- Water to thin
- Za’atar to top
- Toasted chopped walnuts, to top
Let’s start by making the pesto: Combine your walnuts, garlic cloves, fresh basil, olive oil, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in your blender. Blend until completely smooth. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes as desired.
Transfer ¼ cup of the pesto into a small bowl and set aside – we are reserving this for later!
In the same blender where the rest of your pesto is hanging out, add your can of white beans, plus the tahini, lemon juice, and cumin. Blend!
Add water, tablespoon by tablespoon, to the blender to thin the dip to your desired consistency. Season to taste with more salt and pepper.
Transfer the dip into a bowl. Add the reserved pesto on top. Drizzle with olive oil, top with chopped walnuts, and add a sprinkling of za’atar to finish. Enjoy!