Nutritious Delicious Nut Meal

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This is my new favorite thing to add to everything for a hit of nutrition, fiber, flavor and crunch. You can buy products where the grinding of nuts and seeds has been done for you, but I like to do it myself. It’s cheaper, and I can see exactly what’s going into it.

I use this to top my morning porridge or yogurt, and I just used it as a substitute for bran in a wholesome morning muffin the recipe for which I will be posting in the near future. You could sprinkle it on fresh fruit or cooked or raw vegetables. Toss it into buttered pasta. Use it as a base in pesto. It would make a good substitute in any recipe calling for ground nuts.

Why are we soaking and dehydrating the nuts? And why don’t I do this with every recipe? Because a lot of nuts and seeds have enzyme inhibitors that prevent proper digestion. Soaking/sprouting removes the inhibitors and dehydrating–though not the most convenient thing to do–makes them crisp and crunchy without destroying the nutrients and perfect for long-term storage. Sometimes I don’t feel like going to the trouble of doing all this for a batch of cookies that will be eaten up in a short period of time, no one person eating that many. But when you’re talking about something that will become part of a daily routine and is intended to make you feel good, well, enough said. And I can attest to the benefit of it. I eat a lot of nuts, and eating a handful of unsprouted nuts, though initially satisfying, doesn’t make me feel as good as the sprouted nuts do. Try it, you’ll see. At the very least they taste really good.

Nutritious Delicious Nut Meal (makes 4 cups)

1 cup (240ml) organic flax meal (ground flax seeds)
1 cup (240ml) organic raw whole almonds, soaked and dehydrated
1 cup (240ml) organic raw walnuts or pecans, whole or pieces, soaked and dehydrated
1 cup (240ml) organic raw whole Brazil nuts

*Flax seeds have to be ground otherwise the exterior shell prevents them from being digested. You can buy flax meal or use a spice/coffee grinder or a Vitamix–should you be so lucky to have one. They don’t really break down very well in a food processor. At least not in mine.

Soak the almonds and walnuts separately by covering with filtered water and 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt. Let the nuts soak at least 8 hours. Drain the nuts, pat dry, and spread out on a stainless steel baking sheet. You don’t have to, but you can slip the skins off the almonds at this point. If you need to cover you baking sheet, use parchment paper, not aluminum foil. Bake on the warm setting (150F/65C degrees) for 12 to 24 hours. I find walnuts and pecans are nice and crispy after 12 hours, but almonds take the full 24 to get where I want them. If you have a dehydrator you can use it instead. I do this when I know I’m going to be home for a long stretch, and if I have to leave and my husband isn’t here, I turn the oven off and pick up when I get back. You can do a larger batch if you want more for snacks.

Pulse the almonds, walnut and Brazil nuts in a food processor until they are close to resembling cornmeal. Be careful not to go too far or you’ll have nut butter.

Either add the flax meal and give the mixture a few pulses to combine or toss it all together in a bowl.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator to keep the meal fresh. Walnuts can go rancid rather quickly when kept at room temperature, so it’s just easier to keep it all in the fridge. I use a glass container with a tight-fitting lid to make sure funky odors don’t seep in. Plastic doesn’t seem to do as good a job.

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