Incorporating Nuts and Seeds into your Menu

November 1, 2018

As trends have predicted, protein-based snacks are on the rise and restaurants are seeing success by incorporating more bulk nuts & seeds into their dishes.  Not only do these ingredients offer health and nutritional benefits, but they also allow for an added texture element to dishes. Restaurateurs want the best for their diners and demand a level of quality from their partners. We source the highest quality ingredients and roast them in one of our two manufacturing facilities. We also work with our partners to offer unique and creative applications for our products. Some of our favorite recommendations for applications include:


Added Entree Ideas

Almost every restaurant is feeling the pull for more vegetarian and vegan options. Nuts are hugely popular as a substitute for animal protein. We’ve seen interesting “meat” made from spiced almonds, walnuts and sunflower seeds that adds an interesting component to nachos on menus. Flavored nuts in particular can add big taste to vegetarian dishes that will entice even the biggest meat eater. Traditionally vegetarian dishes like noodles can also receive a boost of added protein with candied cashews.

And for those meat eaters that are still the majority of diners, nuts are a great option to use as a crusting for meat to add a burst of flavor and added texture.


Salad Bar Items

A common way to feature nuts and seeds at restaurants is on a salad or included as a topping in a salad bar. Nuts, such as sliced almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, pine nuts or chopped peanuts can add some crunch to your salad instead of croutons, making for a naturally gluten free option. You can top almost any salad with nuts, but almonds, walnuts and pecans pair well with salads made with sweet, fruit-based dressings, while pine nuts and hazelnuts tend to work better with savory salads.

Like nuts, seeds offer beneficial nutrients, and adding them to your salad can create some extra texture and flavor. Sunflower kernels are popular when sprinkled over savory salads, but less common seeds like pumpkin, poppy and chia seeds also make excellent toppings for salads.

As an added flavor option, consider candied or spiced nuts for your salad bar. They can add a sweet or bold taste to a boring salad and flavors can be customized for restaurants to have their own unique offering. Some of our favorites include pecans, almonds and walnuts to enjoy candied or spiced.

Consider dried fruits too as a fun option to add some color and sweetness to your salad bar. Our Mini Fruit Mix is a sweet and tangy option that combine raisins, golden raisins, diced pineapple, blueberries, diced mango, papaya and cranberries to one balanced mix.


Dessert Toppings

Dessert menus actively promote textured toppings and garnishes to set them apart. Flavored pretzels could be chopped and added as a sweet & tangy flavor topping with lots of texture. The same could be done for sweet nuts like our butter toffee peanuts or praline pecans. Also consider adding a savory topping like Buffalo Nuts to a dessert like ricotta cheesecake to bring a spicy/sweet flavor profile.


Drink Garnishes

For drinks, you can create unique and exciting experiences for customers with drink garnishes. A great year-round garnish is dried fruit and we have a variety of types available. Our new Valencia orange slices offer a bright and sweet garnish addition. Since we’re getting into the holiday season, consider red and green peppermint ribbon candy to add some cheer to your favorite martini or crushed peppermint for the glass rim. Champagne can have a silver stick of rock candy added for a celebratory feel and even shots can offer something extra with a simple syrup to the rim and sprinkles. Looking for more ideas? Read our Holiday Cocktail Garnishes post.


Interested in talking to us further about capabilities for restaurateurs and food service? Contact us!

Tags: candied almonds, candied nuts, candied pecans, candied walnuts, cocktail garnish, dessert toppings, food service, nuts, salad bar items, seeds, spiced nuts

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