Go nuts for nuts with Joy Bauer's pecan pesto and dark chocolate almonds

What's not to love about these nutrient-packed powerhouses?
/ Source: TODAY

It's no secret that I'm nuts for nuts — cashews, peanuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios — I truly adore them all. That's because there's a lot to love about these nutrient-packed powerhouses; for starters, they offer plant-based protein and fiber, heart-healthy unsaturated fats and good-for-you vitamins and minerals. And then there's the amazing flavor and crunch. So, for this week's Superfood Friday, I'm headlining two nutty standouts — pecans and almonds — and transforming them into addictive dishes that'll hit the sweet-and-savory-spot: Pecan Pesto and Dark Chocolate Almonds. Let's get cracking!

Dark Chocolate Almonds

Lucy Schaeffer

Almonds on their own are a super-duper delight, but I'm kicking them up a notch — in terms of deliciousness, nutrition and fun-factor — by transforming these healthy gems into a sweet and satisfying treat. This simple recipe is a blast to make (with or without the kiddos) and calls for just a few basic ingredients: an egg white, vanilla extract, antioxidant-filled cocoa powder and some sugar (I add enough sugar for gentle sweetness — it's a fraction of the amount found in most store-bought versions). After a bit of magic in the oven, your kitchen will smell incredible and you'll be left with a batch of crunchy cocoa-dusted bites.

Get the recipe here.

Joy Bauer's Pecan Pesto

Pesto gets a nutty makeover! While the traditional recipe calls for pine nuts, I'm shaking things up by incorporating antioxidant-filled pecans into my rendition. Between the fresh basil, Parmesan, garlic, lemon, olive oil and buttery pecans, the flavor is rich and the texture is thick and creamy. While I love pesto tossed with pasta (who doesn't?), I also like to pair it with scrambled eggs, mix it into chicken salad, drizzle some over roasted sweet potatoes and spread it on sandwiches and crostini. Is your mouth watering yet?

For more tasty recipes, order Joy's new cookbook "Joy Bauer's Superfood!"

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