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Fall recipes with an almondy crunch

Diana De Cicco is a food editor and writer based in New York City. She has a master's degree from New York University in Food Studies. Her passions are eating, traveling, and eating while traveling.

Crunchy almonds in fall recipes

As the cooler weather approaches, those belly warming casseroles and stews are a welcome change from summer‘s lighter fare, but they can sometimes lack that coveted texture and crunchiness. Adding a few handfuls of heart-healthy almonds can boost the nutritional value of your fall recipes and deliver a lovely nutty crunch. Here's more on almonds and ways to incorporate this good for you nut into your cool weather autumn fare.

Fall recipes with almonds

Recipes courtesy of the Almond Board of California

Wild Rice Casserole

Crunchy almonds in fall recipesMakes 10 servings

1 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
4 tablespoons butter, divided
12 ounces mix of long grain and wild rice
3 cups water
3/4 cup cream sherry, divided
4 chicken bouillon cubes
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1/2 pounds fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 teaspoons grated orange peel

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and butter a 2-quart casserole dish.

2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons butter, until softened. Stir in rice, tossing to coat.

3. Add water, 1/2 cup sherry, bouillon cubes, and thyme. Bring to a boil, cover, and turn heat to low. Simmer 25 minutes until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Set aside to cool.

4. In a medium-sized skillet, saute mushrooms in remaining butter. Stir in celery, almonds, parsley and orange peel. Toss mushroom mixture with rice and remaining 1/4 cup sherry. 

5. Spoon rice into prepared casserole dish and cover with foil. Poke several holes in the foil. Bake for 45 minutes or until heated through. Serve warm.

Chicken and Almond Tangine

Makes 4 servings

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 teaspoons all purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup sliced white onion
1 cup water
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 scallions, chopped (green and white parts)
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1. Sprinkle chicken with flour. Heat oil and butter in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and brown on all sides. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

2. Add onion to skillet and saute until translucent and beginning to brown. Stir in water, garlic, scallions, carrots, tomatoes, cinnamon, cumin, ginger and salt. Bring to a simmer and return chicken to skillet.

3. Turn heat to low and simmer gently until chicken is cooked through and easily shreds, about 20 minutes. Stir in almonds and cilantro to serve.

Curried Butternut Squash and Almond Soup

Makes 6 servings

2 butternut squash (about 4-3/4 pounds total)
Cooking oil
1 cup slivered almonds, divided
1 cup diced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 teaspoons mild curry powder
5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Salt to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons plain yogurt

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Bake squash for 15 minutes on a baking sheet. Remove from oven and cut in half, scooping out seeds. 

3. Rub squash generously with oil and place cut-side down on baking sheet. Bake squash for 30 to 35 minutes or until very soft. Remove from oven and let cool.  

3. Meanwhile, turn heat down to 350 degrees F. Place almonds on the baking sheet and place in oven until toasted golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.

4. Heat 2 tablespoons cooking oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until onion is translucent. Stir in curry and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 or 3 minutes, or until fragrant. Remove from heat.

5. When squash is cool, cut away peel and cut flesh into bite-sized pieces.

6. Place curried onion and garlic mixture in a blender or food processor and add enough squash and broth to fill. Add 3/4 cup almonds, reserving the remaining 1/4 for garnish, and process until smooth.

7. Transfer puree back to pot. Puree remaining squash and broth, and transfer to pot. Stir mixture and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt.

8. To serve, divide soup among shallow bowls. Swirl about a 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil on each, and top with a 1-tablespoon dollop of yogurt. Sprinkle remaining almonds on top of yogurt.

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