I love walnuts for both savory and sweet recipes, and I think they are fantastic additions to both carrot cakes as well as loaded salads. Similarly, I love walnut flour for the flavor it adds to cakes and cookies (traditional) and even pasta sauces (romesco) and mashed potatoes (skordalia). It is also fun to play around and experiment with other recipes that may traditionally call for almond flour or hazelnut flour and see what happens when you sub in walnut flour instead.
While basically everything I do when it comes to cooking is based around flavor choices, not necessarily predicated on whether a specific ingredient is healthy or not, I am vaguely aware that nuts are generally considered healthy. Let’s get into it.
So first off, walnut flour is gluten free, just as all other nut flours or nut meals are (since all nuts/seeds are naturally gluten free – see source 2). Walnuts are also a great source of antioxidants and omega-3s and have a whole host of other health benefits (see source 4 for more detailed info on this). They are also a good source of manganese and B vitamins (source 5).
Walnut flour has a great many applications, especially in baking. They are often used as a supplement to regular ol wheat flour, not so commonly as a 1:1 replacement, although I have certainly also done this. You will get a bit of a denser cake, a different type of crumb, or a texture that varies a bit from what you might expect if you have made the recipe before with wheat flour.
The flavor of walnuts, and of course by extension its flour, is mild and earthy, slightly tangy, sometimes a little bitter. Don’t try using walnut flour if you are making something with yeast that you expect to rise since it won’t (or do, and report back what happens! For science!) A simple place to start is banana bread or lemon pound cake, or just subbing out increasingly large amounts of flour for walnut flour. As mentioned above, adding walnut meal into your romesco sauce (in lieu of other more traditional nuts) or into your mashed potatoes (in the form of the Greek skordalia) is a great option as well.
Happy baking and happy cooking! You can do it! You are doing amazing! I believe in you!
General caveats that I feel compelled to add:
I am *NOT* a nutritionist, I am just someone who is deeply interested in and profoundly committed to eating delicious food only. In seeking to reach this goal, I am often trying out random new ingredients that I come across. These ingredients are ones I may not know anything about, and so I am sharing my notes with you, and will be updating these as I go along and learn more. I will also link to more and more recipes that use these ingredients, so that you can try your hand at using them and tasting them yourself. If you have any allergies or intolerances, you should not be listening to the vaguely informed opinion about some some stranger on the internet – please consult with an actual doctor who can guarantee you accurate information.