What’s the first thing that comes into your mind when you think “pecans”? My mind immediately pictures a warm pecan pie. It seems to me pecans are pigeonholed as best for pie and other sweets, when in fact they are used in an amazing array of recipes to add depth and deliciousness. Think chicken, fish, salads, rice dishes and more. Now I’m drooling!
Pecans are super easy to add to a variety of dishes. Not only do they add a unique and special taste and texture to many recipes, but they fit in with my “eat to live well” goals. Did you know that one ounce of pecans (about 20 halves) has as much fiber as a small apple? Cholesterol free, those 20 pecan halves are a good source of copper, vitamin B1, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese and vitamin E. In fact, one ounce of pecans contains 60 percent of the recommended daily intake of manganese, and 15 percent of the recommended intake of zinc. Call pecans a super-food, or in this case, a super-nut! They rank highest among nuts in antioxidant capacity, due to their high content of polyphenolic antioxidant ellagic acid, vitamin E, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, all of which have antioxidant effects to combat free radicals.
Why Pecans are a Super-food
All these positive factors make me want to add pecans to my grocery list right away! The key is to make sure I don’t leave them in the cupboard, unused. April is National Pecan Month, and more specifically, April 14 is National Pecan Day. I think the pecan deserves this attention, and I was excited to learn how pecans can improve my health, so I’m making a commitment to trying more recipes with pecans and incorporating pecans in at least three recipes this week.
The easiest way to enjoy pecans is to keep a jar of pecans in your snack cabinet. You can also keep them in the freezer for up to 3 to 6 months, and on the shelf or fridge for a month. You can toast, roast or enjoy them raw. My favorite way is roasted, and here is how I make them.
Here is how to make roasted pecans … it’s soooo easy!
- Preheat your oven to 250 °F. The lower temperature and longer roasting time allow the natural nut oils to emerge and give us that rich buttery flavor.
- Arrange the pecans in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Cook for about 40 minutes, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes.
- After the pecans are finished roasting, add salt or other seasonings while they are still hot, and the seasonings adhere to the nuts’ natural oils.
Voilà! Now we have yummy, snack-ready pecans just the way I like them seasoned. I can snack on them or add to salads, or crunch them up and add to my morning oatmeal, etc. Some folks like to take it a step further and make granola such as this DinnerTime staff favorite granola recipe.
Take the “Three Times this Week” challenge with me to incorporate more pecans in your diet.
Do you have a favorite recipe that uses pecans? We would love to share it with our members. Send in your recipes to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add it to your personal “Favorites” in your DinnerTime Recipe Box. Next time you make this recipe, all the ingredients will be automatically added to your DinnerTime Grocery List. And make sure you add your extra stash of pecans to your DinnerTime Pantry Manager so you don’t forget you have plenty on hand for your next meal plan.
Celebrate National Pecan Day with one of these yummy recipes:
Search in your DinnerTime Recipe Box for more pecan inspired recipes