Did you know the botanically speaking, a nut is a fruit with a hard shell containing a single seed. The true nuts you might encounter in the produce aisle include hazelnuts and chestnuts. Many of the products sold as “culinary nuts” belong to other botanical classifications. Cashews, almonds, and pistachios are known as “drupes,” a type of fruit with thin skin and a pit containing the seed. (Peaches, mangos, cherries, and olives are also drupes.) And the jury is still out on whether walnuts and pecans fall into the nut or drupe category since they have characteristics of both. Some botanists call them drupaceous nuts. (In case that’s a question on Jeopardy.)
Walnuts are great in granola and breakfast cookies, great in banana nut bread, great toasted and drizzled with honey on top of Greek yogurt, but have you ever tried in a Grilled Cheese Sandwich/Panini? Use the following next time you have leftover broccoli.
Broccoli and Walnut Grilled Cheese
America’s favorite sandwich improved with Italian Fontina cheese, toasted walnuts and leftover roasted broccoli florets.
- For each sandwich:
- Room temperature butter
- 2 slices your choice bread (I prefer seedy Italian bread.)
- 2 ounces Italian Fontina cheese, sliced
- ¾ -1 ounce walnuts, toasted in microwave 30 seconds
- 1½ ounces oven-roasted broccoli florets
- Lightly spread 2 sides of the bread with butter. On the non-buttered side, lay out the cheese. Spread the walnuts over the cheese. Top with the broccoli florets and the other slice of bread, buttered side out.
Place sandwich carefully onto a heated panini grill or skillet. Grill on one side 2 minutes. Turn, grill the other side another minute. Remove, cut on the diagonal and serve.
Variation: I sometime substitute caramelized onions for the broccoli —terrific.
Information from California Walnuts, https://walnuts.org
Nutrients in One Serving: One ounce of walnuts is a powerhouse of important nutrients for optimum health, including:
- An excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid (2.5g) – the most ALA of any other tree nut. (Also found in salmon, extra virgin olive oil and avocados.)
- 4g of protein
- 2g of fiber
- A good source of magnesium (45mg)