Hazelnuts are perhaps most well-known as the primary ingredient in the world-famous cocoa spread, Nutella. Indeed, their unique flavor profile makes hazelnuts a popular ingredient in sweets like pralines and various kinds of desserts.
But apart from having a truly distinct nutty flavor, hazelnuts are also highly nutritious. They are rich in monounsaturated fats, proteins, iron, and magnesium. More impressively, 100 grams of hazelnuts contain 100 percent of the daily value requirement of vitamin E and a whopping 294 percent of the daily value requirement of manganese, an important antioxidative mineral that plays a role in various functions such as the formation of connective tissues and blood clotting, as well as the metabolism of fat and carbohydrates.
So how do you include more of this healthful nut into your diet? Here are some ideas
One of the easiest ways to enjoy hazelnuts is to drink delicious and creamy hazelnut milk. It may not be as popular as soy or almond milk, but it certainly has developed a loyal following due to its luxurious texture. Some even say they detect hints of chocolate flavors in plain hazelnut milk.
Apart from drinking it straight from the glass, you can also use hazelnut milk in place of regular milk in your cereals, smoothies, coffees, and teas. Vegans and vegetarians will also be pleased to know that hazelnut milk is cruelty-free.
Snack on Them
It’s quite easy to roast hazelnuts — just put them in a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, then slide the tray into an oven that has been preheated to about 350 to 400 degrees. From there, just wait until the brown papery skin appears blistered. Remove the hazelnuts from the oven, transfer and wrap them in a kitchen towel or muslin cloth, and then roll or shake the makeshift pouch to remove the skins. Voila! The hazelnuts are ready for snacking.
But why settle on plain hazelnuts? Sprinkle some of your favorite spices and flavors, like cinnamon, sea salt, honey, or even muscovado sugar. You can re-roast the skinned hazelnuts to make the flavors sink in better. Fair warning though: this snack is highly addictive!
Make Hazelnut Butter
No, not Nutella – hazelnut butter! It’s very easy to make: all you need are raw or dry-roasted hazelnuts and some salt. Then just throw them in a blender or food processor and let the blades run for about 10 to 15 minutes or until you get the consistency you want. You can also add some natural flavorings if you want, like cinnamon or dark chocolate chips.
Plain hazelnut butter can be used as an alternative ingredient in recipes that call for peanut butter. It’s also a good bread spread, as well as a dipping partner for fruits. What’s better is that hazelnut butter contains more vitamin E than peanut butter and is also safe for those with peanut allergies. (Just remember to also check if the person to whom you’re serving it is also not allergic to tree nuts!)
Use Them as Toppings
Because of their unique taste, hazelnuts match very well with sweet treats like cookies, brownies, cupcakes, cakes, and ice cream. Chop up some hazelnuts and use it as a healthy topping for your favorite desserts. You can also add sliced, chopped, or ground hazelnuts in your salads, savory soups, and pasta sauces for some added healthy texture and crunch.
Add Them in Breadings
Breading doesn’t always have to be just made out of, well, bread crumbs. You can always add extra ingredients to achieve the flavor you want. In this case, crushed hazelnuts will not just add a chewy-crunchy texture, it will also boost the healthiness of your breading. Plus, the distinct flavor of hazelnuts goes surprisingly well with different kinds of meat.
This is just a few ways you can incorporate the tastiness and healthiness of hazelnuts into a variety of dishes and drinks — you are only limited by your creativity! Feel free to experiment and enjoy the unique flavor that hazelnuts can bring to your meals.