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California Walnut Holiday Recipes!

California Walnut Holiday Recipes!

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A couple weeks ago I was approached by California Walnut Commission to see if I would be interested in trying out a recipe made with their walnuts! I like to try new recipes and with the holidays around the corner, I was totally game! :) I tend to do a lot of baking for the holidays, so my immediate thoughts were all the  different sweet treats that I could test out using the California Walnuts!

I was very excited earlier this week to receive a nicely wrapped holiday tin from California Walnuts! Inside was a bag full of perfect looking walnuts, a disk with 14 different recipes (and photos of the recipes…handy so we knew what we would be making!) with some information why to use walnuts over the holidays, and a $25 Visa Gift Card to purchase the items needed to make the recipe! We were asked at least 1 of the 14 recipes and share with you all, what I thought!

So like I was saying, I was expecting a bunch of treat/dessert recipes. So I was surprised that as I went through the 14 different walnut recipes there was really only 1 that was a dessert (brownies) the other were all appetizer or main meal dishes! So I decided I would go out of my ‘nut’ comfort zone, and I chose a dinner recipe to try! :) I chose the Walnut Arroz Con Pollo to prepare for dinner for my little family of 4!

What You Need To Prepare This Dish (from the California Walnut Commission’s recipe):

  • 1 cup (250 mL) California walnuts, coarsely chopped, divided
  • 1 2/3 cups (400 mL) chicken stock
  • pinch saffron pinch
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
  • 4-6 chicken legs
  • 1/2 orange pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup (250 mL) rice, long grain
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper
  • 2 tomatoes, skinned and diced
  • 2/3 cup (150 mL) green peas, fresh or frozen


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

  2. Place 1/2 cup (125 mL) of chopped walnuts into a blender with chicken stock and blend until smooth and creamy. Add saffron threads and set aside.

  3. In a heavy bottomed oven proof pot, over medium-high heat add olive oil. Sear chicken legs until browned, approximately 6 to 8 minutes, remove from pot and transfer to a bowl.

  4. In the same pot, sauté peppers, onion and garlic for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in rice, remaining walnuts, reserved chicken stock, bay leaf, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.

  5. Add chicken legs, cover and cook in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 25 minutes.

  6. Stir in tomatoes and green peas just before serving.

Makes 4 servings. * I substituted green pepper for red pepper; carrots for orange pepper; chicken breasts for chicken legs; and baby tomatoes for the 2 tomatoes as this is what I already had on hand in my kitchen that I wanted to use! *


The end result!? All 4 of us LOVED IT! :) Although I have to admit, at first I thought the recipe looked a little daunting, it was actually super easy to make! It was also super yummy! The walnuts added a great texture to the rice and veggies mix, and the stock/walnut puree added that nice, smooth walnut flavour, that was noticeable yet subtle!

I am surprised that I haven’t (other than in salads), ever really used nuts for actual cooking!? I think I would like to give all of the recipes a try at some point! The kids ate it right up! My son (who is not quite 2) doesn’t eat a lot of meats, so it was nice to know he was getting added protein in this meal! :) This would make a great meal for a holiday pot luck, or ito have prepped ahead and read to put in the oven on a busy evening leading up to Christmas!

5 Stars for this recipe from The McLeod’s! Definitely one I will be making again! :)


Would You Like More Information on Walnuts!?

  • California walnuts have a sweet mellow flavour, they are NOT bitter.
  • The mild flavour and soft texture of walnuts make them a versatile ingredient for flavour profiles in a variety of recipes.
  • In addition to baking with walnuts, other usage tips include:
    • Adding toasted walnuts to stir-fry or sautéed vegetables or as a garnish on desserts for added crunch, flavour and nutrients.
    • Adding chopped walnuts to salads, sandwiches, wrap fillings, pasta or rice dishes.
    • Mixing ground walnuts and breadcrumbs to encrust salmon fillets, chicken breasts or pork.
    • Spicing walnuts for a great snack.
    • Adding finely chopped walnuts to sauces for texture and taste.
    • Adding ground walnuts to pie or cheesecake crumb crusts.
    • Using walnuts to complement to both mild and aged cheese.
  • Store shelled walnuts in an airtight container in the fridge for up to six months or freezer for up to one year.
  • Eating a handful of walnuts (one ounce) each day – that’s about 8 -10 walnut halves – may contribute to improved heart health, weight management, bone health, cognitive function, type 2 diabetes control and enhance male fertility.
  • A handful of walnuts have almost twice the antioxidant content as an equivalent amount of any other commonly consumed nut.
  • Walnuts are naturally sodium, cholesterol and gluten free.
  • Walnuts from California are harvested between August and November each year and then stored in temperature-controlled environments and shipped on demand, year-round.

For more information and all 14 of the recipes that were sent to me (plus WAY more!), please be sure to visit the Canadian California Walnut Commission’s website!

**Please note: Crystal was given these items in the holiday tin free of charge from California Walnuts in exchange for a review to be done from Ottawa Valley Moms. Although the walnuts etc. were free of charge, the opinions in this review are her own, and she was not paid for her review in specific.**


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