Are pecans something you have on-hand in your kitchen, or something you only buy before Thanksgiving? According to a national survey, 54% of Americans are unaware that pecans are a healthy food option – perhaps because they associate pecans with pecan pie.
In fact, pecans are a power food that can reduce the risk of heart disease. Not only are pecans made up of mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fat, antioxidants, and fiber, they are naturally sodium-free. They also provide Vitamin E, which can help reduce bad cholesterol.
For these reasons, pecans make for a great snack and can be eaten alone or in a trail mix, but there are plenty of other healthy uses for them, too!
Here are a few tasty ways to add pecans to your breakfasts, lunches, and home-cooked dinners:
- Pecans & Oatmeal
- Salad with Pecan Topper
- Classic Pecan Chicken Salad
- Gluten-Free, Pecan-Crusted Dinners
Pecans & Oatmeal
The ultimate heart-healthy breakfast: pecans and oatmeal! Oatmeal is a great source of fiber (beta glucan), which lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and pecans are an excellent protein for a heart-healthy diet. Sprinkle some pecans on your oatmeal – or even on your yogurt – for a pleasant crunch and extra flavor.
Or, if you prefer baked goods, this pecan-oatmeal muffin recipe is foundationally health-conscious with its oat, applesauce, and whole wheat flour mix, but it is also delicious!
Fresh and chopped pecans are a crunchy and sweet addition to your leafy green salad! Pecans are best-paired with spinach salads, and they really complement salads topped with fruit (strawberries, apples, mandarin oranges).
Curious as to whether or not pecans taste good with the cheese you choose to top your salad with? The answer is: They certainly will! Pecans’ natural sweetness weds them perfectly with nearly any cheese.
Classic Chicken Salad
Don’t let Arby’s and Chicken Salad Chick fool you – some of your mommas and grandmothers were making chicken salad sandwiches with pecans long before they were! A classic recipe for Southerners, pecan chicken salad is flavorful, satisfying, and a taste of home.
A pro tip: Toasting the pecans on a baking sheet (at 350 degrees for 5 minutes if chopped or 10 minutes if whole) before adding them to the salad will intensify the flavor!
Gluten-Free, Crusted Dinners
Have you heard of pecan-crusting a dish? Well, think of it as breading chicken or fish but with pecans! A unique and gluten-free option for your dishes, pecan crust can be made simply with an egg or mayo coating (or both), pecan crumbs, and seasoning.