Plant-forward eating should be easy and delicious – and it can be. Rather than follow strict rules, simply add plant foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and grains to more meals throughout the day.

Walnuts, for example, are a kitchen multi-tasker with uses well beyond baked goods. In fact, walnuts can be used as a simple, whole-food meat alternative. One ounce of walnuts contains important nutrients including 4 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, 2.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 13 grams of polyunsaturated fat and 2.5 grams of essential omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid.

Try walnuts as an alternative to meat in recipes like Walnut Meatless Meatballs or Pizza with Plant-Based Walnut Crumble, and find more plant-forward recipes at walnuts.org/plantrecipes.

Walnut Meatless Meatballs
Total time: 42 minutes
Servings: 4

1tablespoon olive oil
1/4cup minced onion
1teaspoon minced garlic
1tablespoon tomato paste
1/2cup California Walnuts, chopped
1/4cup cooked brown rice
1/4cup chopped roasted red peppers
1/4cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4cup Parmesan cheese
1tablespoon Italian seasoning
2tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
1egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375 F and line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In small skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and garlic; saute 1 minute. Add tomato paste and cook 1 minute. Transfer to food processor with walnuts, rice, roasted red peppers, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, parsley and egg. Pulse until combined but not mushy.

Form into eight equal balls and place on prepared baking sheet. Cook 12 minutes, or until firm to touch. Serve with sauce of choice.

Pizza with Plant-Based Walnut Crumble
Total time: 38 minutes
Servings: 4

Walnut Sausage Crumble:

1cup California Walnuts
1/2cup cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1tablespoon coconut aminos
1tablespoon olive oil
2teaspoons fennel seeds
2teaspoons Italian seasoning
1teaspoon onion powder
1teaspoon garlic powder
1teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4teaspoon celery salt

Walnut Sausage Pizza:

1pound pizza dough
6tablespoons pizza sauce
2/3cup mozzarella cheese, divided
Walnut Sausage Crumble, divided
6tablespoons pesto
1/4cup sliced small tomatoes
fresh basil leaves
shaved Parmesan cheese

To make Walnut Sausage Crumble: In food processor, pulse walnuts, cannellini beans, coconut aminos, olive oil, fennel seeds, seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and salt to sausage like consistency.

To make Walnut Sausage Pizza: Preheat oven to 500 F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide dough into four pieces and roll out into thin ovals; place on baking sheets.

Spread two dough pieces with equal amounts pizza sauce, 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese and half of Walnut Sausage Crumble.

Spread remaining dough pieces with pesto, remaining cheese, remaining Walnut Sausage Crumble and tomatoes.

Bake 8 minutes, or until pizza edges are golden brown. Garnish with basil leaves and shaved Parmesan.

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