Pecans are the highest-scoring nuts on the antioxidant scale. These North American natives help prevent heart disease in two ways. They are an excellent source of oleic acid, a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, and they’re rich in gamma tocopherols (a form of vitamin E), which prevent cholesterol from oxidizing and thereby reduce “bad” cholesterol. Best of all, just a handful of pecans each day elicits results. In addition, pecans are a good source of protein and contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and E, several B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.
Choose It & Use It
To maintain flavor and antioxidants, keep pecans in the refrigerator for as long as nine months, or in the freezer for up to two years. Snack on them plain, or sprinkle them on salads, pancakes, or veggies. Stir them into yogurt or cereal. Toasting intensifies pecans’ sweet flavor.
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Seitan Meatballs with Winter Tomato Sauce
These “meatballs” are perfect with pasta, but they’re also tasty in a sandwich.more
Salad of Shaved Fennel, Oranges, and Candied Pecans
Fresh fennel is popular in France year-round, but the traditional harvest period begins in November. Here, thin slices of the mildly anise-flavored bulb are tossed with baby arugula, Valencia orange slices, and red onion, and topped with candied pecans for an American touch.more
Raw Kale Salad with Root Vegetables
Tender, long-leafed Lacinato kale works especially well in this recipe, but any variety will do if it’s cut very thin and given a thorough rubdown with salt, vinegar, and oil. The grated root vegetables and maple-glazed pecans add just the right crunchiness.more
Endive Petals with Rosemary Chevre
The rosemary-goat cheese filling here can be made up to two days ahead. Arrange the finished petals in concentric circles on a large round platter for an elegant flower-like presentation.more
Cranberry Pecan Lime Tart
This recipe, created by Wendy Roberts, won Best Dessert in VT’s 2011 Chefs’ Challenge. As a kid, Roberts loved baking holiday cookies for her neighbors. "I realized I really liked the joy it brought to other people," she says. That’s why she enrolled in a baking and pastry program andmore