Of all the things to love about almonds, this one should really get your heart pumping: research shows that a diet high in nutritious nuts can help support healthy cholesterol levels.*
Just one ounce of almonds (about 22 nuts) packs more protein than an egg and provides more than three grams of dietary fiber. Almonds are also a rich source of vitamin E, riboflavin, magnesium, manganese and copper.
Shelled almonds are available whole, sliced or slivered with skin on, or blanched with skin removed. When choosing dry-roasted almonds, look for the kind without added sugar or preservatives. Store them in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry place to prevent rancidity and to keep them from absorbing odors from other foods. Refrigerated almonds last several months, and frozen almonds are good for up to a year.
The following recipe is a fresh, salty-sweet twist on the traditional green bean side dish. Almonds coated with balsamic vinegar and Kosher salt add delicious texture and a bit of sweetness to this vegetable favorite.
Roasted Green Beans with Almonds and Lemon
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, divided
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup organic almonds, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375° F. Place green beans in a baking dish and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Toss the almonds and with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of vinegar.
Place the almonds on a foil-lined baking sheet with sides. Roast the almonds on the lower rack, and the green beans on the top rack, for 10 minutes. Remove the almonds from the oven and set aside. Cover green beans with foil and roast for an additional 30 minutes. Combine green beans, almonds, lemon zest and juice, and black pepper.
*Information courtesy of nutrition and education specialist Susan Mills-Gray of the University of Missouri Extension, the American Heart Association and the California Almond Board.
The Kitchen Diva is Angela Shelf Medearis, a regular guest chef on “The Dr. Oz Show” and “The Today Show.” She is the author of many cookbooks, including, “The Kitchen Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook.” She blogs for Vitacost.com and Momonomics.com on a weekly basis.