It Is Pecan Season – Are They Good for You?
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Pecans have a long list of essential ingredients, but can also be high in calories and fat, so are they really good for you? Pecans are a tree nut know best for their rich and buttery flavor, and are super common in the south in appetizers, main dishes and especially desserts.
Pecans are loaded in a number of very important nutrients, best known for being a good source of fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. They also protect against heart disease, diabetes, and more.
Most of the health benefits of pecans are linked to the nut's unsaturated fat, fiber, and polyphenols (a type of antioxidant). And in particular, pecans contain more flavonoids, (another kind of antioxidant) than other tree nuts.
Researchers have found the following benefits of pecan consumption:
- Diabetes Protection
- Cancer Prevention
- Weight Management
- Cardiovascular Protection
- Digestion Support
- Mental Health Maintenance.
The bottom line on pecans is that in moderation, can be a key component of a healthy diet. A serving size recommendation is about a handful or ¼ cup of raw unsalted nuts. The key to this is to measure out your snack packs, to keep from just reaching in a bag.
According to Very Well Health some ideas for a protein rich snack are;
Try pecan butter instead of peanut butter on your favorite toast or sandwich bread
Choose to roast your pecans for snacks, roasting brings out the flavor and quality
Mix pecans into your favorite store bought or homemade trail mix
Add chopped or halved pecans to your salads as a topping on your main dishes.
Sprinkle pecans on oatmeal or yogurt
Bake chopped pecans into your sweet, such as cookies
Give some of these seasonal recipes a try!
Cool Season Salad with Pecan Topping
For the Salad
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced
½ tablespoon olive oil
Salt and Fresh ground pepper
2 cups chopped kale leaves
Two small apples, pears, or figs, or all three, sliced or diced
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup pecans roughly chopped
1/3 cup reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese
For the Dressing
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinaigrette
1 tablespoon maple syrup or local honey
1.5 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
Toss the butternut squash with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and roast until tender, keep checking takes about 30 minutes.
Cook the quinoa according to directions, cool.
Kale can be a little tough, so massage it with half of the dressing, it will bring out the sweetness.
Add the kale to a salad bowl with ½ of the dressing and toss until evenly coated.
To assemble the salad, add the quinoa, butternut squash, and apples to the bowl with the kale and toss to combine.
Sweet Potato Rice Pilaf with Cranberries and Pecans
2 cups of chicken broth, low or no sodium
1 cup wild rice blend
½ teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup sweet potato, diced small
¼ cup onions, diced
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup pecans, chopped
In a medium-sized saucepan bring the broth to a boil and add wild rice, parsley, oregano, and thyme. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 30 minutes or until tender.
Alternatively, you may follow the liquid/rice ratios and cooking directions according to your particular brand of wild rice blend for 1 cup of rice.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Add the sweet potato and sauté until tender, about 15 minutes or so. Once the potatoes are nearly cooked through, add the onion to the pan and cook until translucent.
Add the dried cranberries and chopped pecans to the sweet potato mixture then cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add the sweet potato mixture to the rice mixture and fluff with a fork.
Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired, and serve warm!
Baked Brie with Pecans and Cranberries
(Quick, easy and also pretty)
1 17.6 ounce wheel of brie
½ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup dried cranberries, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh minced rosemary
3 tablespoons local honey
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. for 10-15 min
Score a diamond shaped pattern into the top of the brie. Place the brie in an oven safe baking dish.
Top the brie with the pecans, dried cranberries, and rosemary. Drizzle the honey over the top.
Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until the brie just starts to ooze out of the round.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with kosher salt. Serve immediately with crackers, fruit, or toasted bread for dipping. Drizzle with additional honey or add more fresh rosemary, to taste.
Pumpkin Pecan Muffins with Cinnamon Sugar Crumble
(A sweet indulgence)
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup chopped pecans
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 can of canned pumpkin or homemade pumpkin puree
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup flour
In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients together: flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, pecans and brown sugar.
In another bowl, prepare liquid mixture by whisking eggs together until the yolks and whites are blended. Then add vanilla, oil and pumpkin puree.
Add the liquid mixture from step 3 to the dry ingredient’s mixture in step 2. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
Prepare muffin pan by spraying it with oil, or use butter. You can also use cupcake liners instead.
Use a large spoon or an ice cream scoop to fill each muffin cup completely full, if you want them
to have the same mushroom top as the ones in my pictures. Otherwise, fill them ⅔ full for a normal looking muffin:).
For the Topping:
Prepare the topping for the muffins by mixing pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, flour together.
Then add softened butter by cutting it into the dry ingredients with the fork until you have a good crumble topping. Sprinkle this mixture over muffins.
Using a spoon, spread the topping evenly over each muffin.
Bake until the muffins are springy to the touch and toothpick comes out clean, for 25 to 35 minutes. Start checking with the toothpick at 25 minutes.
Allow them to cool for 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack to cool completely. Please keep in mind that the larger the muffin cups, the longer it will take to bake them.
Sprinkle with confectionary sugar (optional).