Almonds are one of the world’s healthiest foods, providing protein and a long list of whole-body benefits. These teardrop-shaped nuts, which are actually considered stone fruits (like apricots and cherries), are good for the heart, bones, teeth and the brain. Almonds alkalize the body and help to add healthy fat to your diet, while lowering the bad cholesterol and decreasing the rise of insulin and blood sugar post meals.

Having grown up in an Indian family, I was always given a handful of soaked and peeled almonds in the morning before heading off to school, because Ayuervedic beliefs claim that almonds increase intellectual functioning and help to create a sense of calmness and clarity.

Here are five easy-to-make tasty recipes bursting with all the benefits of almonds, without the unnecessary preservatives and toxic additives found in their store bought counterparts:

1. Almond milk

Almond milk and other nut milks are becoming increasingly popular as many people are either intolerant of animal based dairy or have been reading the most updated literature stating the health costs weigh out the pros of consumption. You should definitely start making your own homemade almond milk, because it’s easy, contains very few ingredients and won't have the unnecessarily dangerous ingredients found in most store-bought almonds milks!

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Yields 32 ounces, or 4 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw organic almonds
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon organic raw blue agave*

Directions:

Place 1 cup raw almonds in blender with a cup of boiling hot water, let sit for 35 minutes.

Add 3 cups of filtered cold water, vanilla extract and raw blue agave into blender and blend until frothy.

Pour mixture through a very small sieve. You can use all the non liquid as almond flour to bake with later.

*Agave can be replaced with honey, maple syrup or dates!

2. Chia seed pudding

Chia Seeds have been around for a long time, they were a staple part of the Aztec and Mayan diet. These little seeds can be eaten raw, added to smoothies, or sprinkled on top of salads, but my favorite is as a breakfast or dessert pudding — using my homemade almond milk of course!

Yields 1 serving (or 2 small servings)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of homemade almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons organic certified chia seeds

Directions:

Pour 1 cup of Homemade Organic Vanilla Almond Milk into a small bowl, add 3 heaping spoonfuls of chia seeds stir for about 1 minute.

Let rest for about 2 minutes, then stir again for about a minute. Let rest for 4-5 minutes, stir again for about a minute. Continue stirring at regular intervals until you achieve a desired consistency. You can add fruits or raw nuts on top and enjoy, or place in fridge and eat later!

3. Morning green smoothie

Smoothies are everywhere these days, but are expensive and seemingly silly to not just make at home.

Yields 1 tall serving

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces homemade organic vanilla almond milk
  • 4 ounces fresh young coconut water
  • 2 scoops of fresh young coconut meat
  • one handful of organic raw kale
  • one handful of organic raw spinach
  • handful of frozen strawberries
  • Optional: 1/4 of a raw avocado

Directions:

Place liquids in the blender first, then add the other ingredients and blend on “smoothie” option (if your blender has this) or just until the consistency you desire is reached.

If you need to add more liquid, put a tiny bit more coconut water or cold filtered water!

4. Almond butter

What can’t you spread almond butter on? Stop buying this kitchen must-have, and make it yourself!

Yields: 1 heaping jar

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unsalted almonds
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • dash of vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread almonds across a baking sheet and roast in oven for 10 minutes. After they've been roasted, pour almonds into a food processor and process on low for about 15 minutes, scraping the sides down intermittently.

Process for about 5 more minutes, until the desired consistency is achieved. Add salt, vanilla and honey to taste, and process for another minute.

Your almond butter is now smooth and ready to be scooped into a jar, placed in fridge or stored at room temperature!

5. Matcha green tea latte

Matcha green tea is one of the most nutritious naturally occurring beverages. It's definitely an acquired taste, one that I love just plain whisked in hot water, but it’s absolutely delicious as a latte with homemade almond milk.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 teaspoon of ceremonial grade matcha tea powder
  • boiled water
  • steamed organic homemade vanilla almond milk

Directions:

Steam almond milk in a steamer if you have one, otherwise heat the milk and stir vigorously until frothy.

Sift 1 tsp of matcha green tea powder into a cup. Melt the matcha by adding 2 ounces of hot water and stirring matcha until it becomes a thick paste.

Pour 6 ounces of steamed milk into a teacup or mug, and add melted matcha tea paste to the milk. Scoop the foam off the top and sprinkle on some matcha dust for good measure!

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com


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