I’ve partnered with California Walnut Commission to bring you this yummy recipe. Thanks for supporting the brands that keep this blog up and running!
As a child of the 80’s, who grew up in the 90’s, I remember the low-fat diet craze very well. My mom and I used to eat low-fat SnackWell’s cookies like they were going out of style. “They are practically fat free, so they must be good for you,” we thought. What we didn’t know at the time, and later learned in the Y2K decade, was that foods with the fat taken out actually had other weird things put into them. Sugar, artificial sweeteners, preservatives–you name it! These yucky ingredients made the product taste good, but didn’t really make them better for you.
But those gross ingredients were still better than fat, right? WRONG. As science has progressed, it’s become overwhelmingly clear that avoiding all fat is not a good thing, and eating “good fats” is actually really beneficial to your health. Whereas scientists used to view fat as the cause of many health complications–like heart disease–they now know that the good fats, aka unsaturated fats, are a healthy and welcomed part of a diet and can protect the heart.
Even though health professionals are championing fat, many people still hold onto those misconceptions from the 90’s. According to research conducted by the California Walnut Commission, “nine in ten people are worried about consuming dietary fat, just as much or more than they were five years ago.” Whaaaaa? It’s time to throw away these ideas, just like you did with those acid washed jeans!
Since February is American Heart Month, and good fats are part of a heart-healthy diet, I’m here to set the record straight and provide 5 reasons to add more healthy fats to your diet.
- A recent study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests that people who regularly eat nuts (aka healthy fats), like walnuts, may have a lower risk of developing heart disease.
- Other research suggests that eating more omega-3 fatty acids can decrease your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
- Research has also shown that swapping out saturated fats (like butter, cream and fat in meats) with unsaturated fats (like in walnuts, avocados and salmon) has a positive impact on heart health.
- A very large observational study found that people who ate walnuts on a daily basis scored higher on several cognitive tests.
- Research suggests that non-depressed young adults who ate walnuts have a boost in mood.
With those handful of reasons to eat your good fats, I encourage you to reach for a handful of omega-3 rich walnuts (see what I did there?). I love them atop my morning oatmeal, blended into a smoothie or even in this hearty trail mix. They also make a great addition to hearty sauces, like my version of a Romesco sauce.
This traditional roasted red pepper sauce usually contains nuts, so I opted for heart-healthy walnuts to flavor this sauce. It’s the perfect compliment to this herbed cauliflower rice. The finished product comes together in minutes and will easily serve an entire family. Pair it with some sort of protein, like salmon or quinoa, and you’ve got an entire meal in no time flat.
Make this for dinner any night of the week and share it on social with the hashtag #TeamGoodFat.
Cauliflower Rice with Walnut Romesco Sauce
- 1 head of cauliflower about 4 cups florets
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
WALNUT ROMESCO SAUCE
- 1 cup walnut pieces
- 2 12- ounce jars roasted red peppers drained
- 3 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon dried cayenne pepper
Cut the cauliflower into florets. Place the florets, parsley and salt in a food processor. Process until the cauliflower becomes grainy in texture (like small pebbles). You may need to process in batches.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the cauliflower rice to the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until softened. Remove from the heat and set aside.
WALNUT ROMESCO SAUCE & ASSEMBLY
Heat a small skillet over medium heat and add the walnuts. Toast for 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown.
Add the toasted walnuts, roasted red peppers, red wine vinegar, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and cayenne to a food processor and process until smooth.
Dress the cauliflower rice with the sauce and serve warm. You may also mix the Cauliflower Rice and Walnut Romesco Sauce together in a large skillet and heat for 2-3 minutes before serving.