What’s a good substitute for nuts?

…asks reader Suzanne from South America (she didn’t tell me where). Suzanne, there are a lot of good substitutes for nuts, since they have no real functional purpose in a recipe other than to add texture and/or flavor. Thus you can replace them with lots of things. More flour is the most obvious choice. Maybe supplement with a little flavoring of some kind and…problem solved!

But then most people miss nuts more for what they bring to a recipe texturally. For these folks there are all sorts of things to choose from: ground up granola, wheat bran, soy nuts, toasted chickpeas or other legumes…the list goes on. Head to a health food store that carries bulk “veggie” snacks and you’ll find all kinds of things. Suzanne says she already uses ground up stale cookies, which is genius.

In recipes that rely on nut oil for texture (praline paste for example) you’ll need to compensate by adding some neutral oil like vegetable oil. The flavor won’t be the same, but it’s certainly better than going without, at least in my opinion. Thanks for the great question, Suzanne!

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