By Sarah McColl
“It was inevitable,” Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote in Love In The Time of Cholera. “The scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.”
Luckily, for most health nuts, the fragrance of almonds is more hunger-fulfilling than heartbreaking. Americans continue to flip for our favorite nut in all its varied forms: As almond addicts among us seek out plant-based alternatives to dairy and protein, sales of almond milk have surged 250 percent in the past five years. Industry experts report almond butters are star players in an ever-increasing list of foods, like bars, frozen desserts and creamy beverages.
The humble nut is also a favorite treat as we dash out the door for a journey on trains, planes and automobiles. Protein- and fiber-rich almonds are basically nature’s perfect snack. A heaping handful of 23 almonds have about 160 calories and are rich in monounsaturated fats—the kind research links to a reduced risk of heart disease. They’re loaded with vitamin E, which protects against UV damage and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as calcium, magnesium, manganese and potassium. Here, four simple and yummy ideas to help fill you up wherever the road may take you.
Drizzle 1 tablespoon of room temperature raw honey over 1 cup almonds. Toss well with sea salt and cinnamon. Roast in a 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
On a large baking sheet, toss 1 cup almonds with 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, 1 tablespoon coconut oil and some sea salt. Roast in a 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
Almond, Kale and Banana Smoothie
In a blender, combine ¼ cup almonds, 1 cup chopped kale, 1 medium banana, 1 scoop plant-based protein powder and 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or coconut water until smooth.
Almond-Cacao Energy Balls
Pulse 1 cup almonds in a food processor until crushed. Add ½ cup dates and 1 tablespoon coconut oil and pulse until incorporated. Add 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder and 2 tablespoons almond butter, and mix until combined. Scoop out one tablespoon at a time, and roll into balls. Place on a baking sheet and freeze for 1 hour. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge.