Healthy Ingredient of the Week – Walnut Oil

Several months ago, my husband brought home a bottle of walnut oil.  I was a little confused as to what to do with it, but I soon discovered that walnut oil has many uses in cooking and baking, adding a nutty flavor to any dish to which it’s added.  Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of recipes that include walnut oil, so I guess my husband was ahead of the trend when he purchased that bottle for us to use.  Walnut oil, made from English walnuts, contains many of the same nutrients as whole walnuts, including Vitamin E and several B vitamins.  Walnuts and walnut oil are also excellent sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.  Walnut oil, like other nut-based oils, can turn rancid quickly when left at room temperature, so be sure to refrigerate it after opening.  Although walnut oil can be used in cooking, heating it imparts a slightly bitter taste, so first-time users may prefer to consume it raw, as in the recipe below.

Lentil Salad with Walnut Oil

Ingredients
For the lentils:
2 cups dried green lentils, washed and picked over
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 bay leaf
1 medium onion, cut in half
1 medium carrot, quartered
6 cups water
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
½ cup broken walnuts

For the dressing:
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 shallot, minced, or 1 garlic clove, minced
⅓ cup walnut oil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine the lentils, garlic, bay leaf, onion, carrot and water in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer 35 to 45 minutes until the lentils are tender.
  3. Remove from the heat and discard the onion, carrot, garlic cloves and bay leaf. Drain through a strainer set over a bowl.
  4. Whisk together the vinegar, Dijon mustard, and shallot or garlic. Whisk in the oil and 2 to 4 tablespoons of the liquid from the lentils.
  5. Stir dressing into the lentils. Add the parsley and pepper.
  6. Spoon onto plates, arrange walnuts on top of the lentils, and serve.

Recipe from The New York Times

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