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ago 04, 2017

Ten incredible ways with Brazil nuts

Far more diverse than you might think, these healthy nuts are great for more than just snacking

Hailing from the heartlands of their namesake country, Brazil nuts are another superfood found in the Amazon. Compared to some other nuts, they are a little higher in calories owing to their huge supply of monounsaturated fats – meaning that like avocados, they contain fat that’s good for your body and can help fight cholesterol. They’re also high in fibre, vitamins and minerals, like Vitamin E and selenium, plus they’re bursting with protein and anti-oxidants.

As their benefits have become more widely known in recent years, there’s been a growing international demand for Brazil nuts. Demand for the nuts shot up by almost 9 percent between 2007 and 2014, with Brazil responsible for 35.4 percent of the global supply. And Brazil looks set to make further economic gains in the near future thanks to the nut: the Brazilian Agency for the Promotion of Exports and Investments (Apex-Brasil) brokered $31.2 million’s worth of deals between businesses and the international market.

As they become more accessible, these versatile nuts become even more popular. In addition to their numerous health benefits, the texture and flavor of Brazil nuts means they lend themselves well to recipes, both sweet and savory. Here are a few of the most interesting ways that you can make use of the nut in your own kitchen.

Make your own Brazil nut milk
In recent years, a whole new range of milks have gained popularity, from soy and rice-based milks to almond milk. Brazil nuts are another potential alternative for those looking for lactose-free diets, or just those looking for a tastier alternative.

Spiced-up snacks
Yes, Brazil nuts make great raw snacks. But like many of their companions, they can also be turned into fancy dinner appetizers with very little effort or ingredients. Simply toast them in the oven with a little bit of extra fat and some spices. Here’s one idea, combining honey and paprika or chili flakes for a sweet-spicy kick.

Fancy farofa
Is there anything that goes better with the Brazilian rice-and-beans staple than farofa? Using its traditional yucca flour base, you can also make a vegan-friendly version of this tasty, crunchy topping with Brazil nuts and dried banana pieces.

Simple salmon suppers
European dishes might place pesto-laden breadcrumbs on top of their salmon fillets to create a salty crust, but that’s far from the only option. Brazil nuts can form an alternative base for crusting fish and meat cuts alike, adding in herbs and spices to suit your own tastes.

Northeastern fish dishes
Northeastern Brazilian cuisine shines once again, this time bringing white fish fillets bathed in coconut milk. Onions, garlic and peppers bring extra flavor, while Brazil nuts add another texture to the mix.

Brazil nut pesto
If you thought pesto was only possible with the Italian basil-and-pine nut combination, think again. Walnut pesto has been in French and Italian cuisine for years, but Brazil nuts provide another example of fusion cuisine at its finest.

Vegan béchamel sauce
Creamy béchamel sauce on pasta is a classic winter comfort food. Substitute regular milk for Brazil nut milk to transform this notoriously unhealthy option into something a little less sinful, without losing the taste.

Healthy fruit cakes
Cakes using fresh fruit like apple or pineapple make the most of the natural sugar found in fruits, providing a healthier option. Brazil nuts are one of many options that can give these cakes a little extra nutritional benefit, not to mention adding to the taste and texture. English link:

Knockout chocolate recipes
Nuts and chocolate have been excellent culinary companions for decades, but Brazil nuts balance out chocolate’s sweet and bitter notes particularly well. You can add them to brownies, cakes and biscuits, or if you’re feeling particularly opulent you can try making rich chocolate tarts like this one.

Christmas cookies with coconut
Light, buttery and melt-in-your-mouth, these are the Brazilian version of the US’s celebratory sugar cookie, normally eaten at Christmas time. This version offers a slightly more textured approach, using the unique flavors of Brazil nuts and coconut for a tropical take on the sweet snack.