The Best Nut for the Job

At Omada, we’re crazy about nuts. Research shows that people who eat nuts at least twice a week are significantly less likely to gain weight than nut avoiders.

Why? Nuts are especially nutritious. So when you snack on them or add them to meals, they satisfy you more than many other foods. When you’re truly satisfied, you crave (and eat) less junk.

The one caveat is that nuts are high in calories, so it’s important to watch your portions. One serving of nuts is about 2 tablespoons or a small palmful.

When you’re at the store, look for nuts that are “raw” or “dry roasted” to avoid added oils (which add excess calories). Ingredients on the Nutrition Facts Label should be nuts or nuts and salt. That’s it.

You can put nuts in just about anything, but the combinations below are particularly delicious.


Salad + Slivered Almonds or Shelled Pistachios

Chewy and flavorful, a heaping tablespoon of slivered almonds or shelled pistachios turns a veggie salad into a satisfying meal. You could buy whole nuts and prep them yourself, but that extra step could prevent you from using them. If you can swing it, buy them already slivered/shelled.

Use this trick to save your fingertips: Take half of a pistachio shell, slide it sideways into the opening of an unshelled pistachio, and twist it to pry the shell open. Then rub the pistachio between your fingers or with a tea towel to loosen the skin.


Oatmeal or Yogurt + Roasted Walnuts

Roasted walnuts mix beautifully into oatmeal or yogurt (remember: unsweetened versions of both oatmeal and yogurt are best). Roasting walnuts is an extra step that’s well worth the time. That’s because walnuts are high in tannins, which can make them bitter. A little heat brings out their sweetness.

To roast a big batch of walnuts: Heat your oven to 350°F. Spread raw walnut halves in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes, tossing nuts occasionally for even cooking. They’re done when they get a little darker and smell toasty. Let cool so they become crisp. Adding them to yogurt or oatmeal while still warm can make them gummy.


Stir-Fry or Sautéed Greens + Cashews

Cashews have mild, rich flavor that pairs nicely with almost any veggie. Chop them into small pieces and add them to your stir-fry or greens during cooking — heat + moisture makes them satisfyingly chewy. For maximum crunch that gives your dish nice contrast, roast the nuts before chopping and adding to the pan.

Roast cashews: Heat your oven to 350°F. Spread raw nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in oven and roast for 5 minutes. Remove and stir, shifting nuts from the middle to the other edges and vice versa. Return to the oven and check again in 3 minutes. Nuts are done when fragrant and a few shades darker, about 8 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer onto a plate to prevent overcooking. Allow to cool completely.


Green Beans + Slivered Almonds

Green beans “almondine” is a classic side dish for a reason — the subtle bitterness of the beans is balanced by the chewy, buttery almonds.

Turn these two ingredients into a scrumptious side-dish: Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add 1 ¾ cup of green beans and cook until crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water, then pat dry. Meanwhile, spread ½ cup slivered almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet, and toast in oven until golden brown and fragrant, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. In a large bowl, toss green beans with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the toasted almonds.


Fish Fillets + All of the Above

Encrusting a fish fillet in finely chopped nuts before cooking results in a restaurant-caliber meal that packs a double-dose of healthy fats. Almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, and hazelnuts all work well, so pick the nut you like best.

To make fish with a nutty, crunchy coating: Season fish fillets (try salmon or flounder) on both sides with salt and pepper. Put nuts on a flat surface and use a sharp knife to chop them finely. Sprinkle both sides of fillets evenly with chopped nuts, patting them down so they stick. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick pan, then add fillets (two at a time to avoid crowding). Cook for 10 minutes per 1-inch of thickness. Wipe excess nuts out of pan between batches, adding more oil if needed. When all fillets are cooked, wipe out skillet, and add a little olive to the pan with leftover nuts. Cook until nuts are fragrant. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to the pan, then pour the mixture over the finished dish.


Mediterranean Diet and Health Outcomes in the SUN Cohort. Nutrients. 2018 Mar 31;10(4). pii: E439. doi: 10.3390/nu10040439.