Fresh and nutritious takes on game-day classics

Fresh and nutritious takes on game-day classics

Some people watch for the love of the game, others tune in for the clever commercials and half-time show, but what does everyone love on Super Bowl Sunday?  The snacks! 

Some people watch for the love of the game, others tune in for the clever commercials and half-time show, but what does everyone love on Super Bowl Sunday?  The snacks! 

The question becomes, which ones? Some prefer salty-spicy-crunchy-barbeque type snacks – and hey, don’t forget the pizza and guacamole. But, with a growing awareness toward health, readers might be looking for all of those wonderfully indulgent flavors delivered in a slightly ‘better for you’ package… California Walnuts make the play of the day with options that make everyone happy.

Start with Fiery Hot Cheddar Walnuts – they’re a crunchy, spiced alternative to the flavor explosion chips on the market.  For versatility, they provide the perfect topping on a Buffalo-Style Chicken and Walnut Salad or Wrap or a Barbecued Chicken and Fiery Walnut Pizza. For avocado-lovers, these spicy nuts are a great addition to Guacamole Chicken Salad.  They add just the right zest and crunch to satisfy game time cravings—and unlike so many empty calorie snacks, these are sure to fill you up. As we all try to crowd-please on Super Bowl Sunday, offering nutritious, omega-3-packed (2.5 grams per one ounce serving) snacks without sacrificing the traditional favorites, is a sure win-win for everyone. [1]

These less guilty pleasures might just take the win!

[1] One ounce of walnuts provides 18g of total fat, 2.5g of monounsaturated fat, 13 g of polyunsaturated fat, including 2.5 grams of alpha linolenic acid - the plant based omega-3; 2g of fiber; 4g of protein. (

Fiery Hot Cheddar Walnuts


*Note:  White Cheddar popcorn seasoning can be found in the “popcorn” section of most supermarkets.   Some people can be sensitive to the heat of hot peppers and their various forms, including red chili pepper hot sauce and cayenne.  Use tongs or a big spoon to toss the walnuts with the seasonings, not your bare hands, and work in a well-ventilated kitchen, particularly if you experience any discomfort in the region of your eyes or nose while blending the spicy mixture.     

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Get out a large, shallow baking pan.  For easier clean-up, line the pan with parchment paper if you wish, though this is not essential.  

In a small bowl combine the White Cheddar popcorn seasoning, cayenne pepper, paprika, onion powder and garlic powder.  Whisk together until thoroughly and evenly blended.  Set aside.

In a large bowl combine the oil, red chili pepper hot sauce and water and whisk together until smooth.  Add the walnuts and toss until they are glistening and covered with the oil mixture.  Continue tossing and stirring as you sprinkle on the cheese mixture and the nuts become coated with the seasonings. 

Spread the seasoned walnuts on the baking pan.  Bake for 6 minutes, then stir the nuts with a spatula.  Bake 6 – 8 minutes longer, until the nuts have browned lightly.  Cool completely, then store in an airtight container. 

Makes about sixteen 1/4-cup (1-ounce) servings    

Nutrition information per serving:  190 calories, 4g protein, 4g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 18g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 3g monounsaturated fat, 12g polyunsaturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 340mg sodium


Buffalo-Style Chicken and Walnut Salad


*Note:  Check out the salad dressing aisle, as well as the refrigerated case, for an assortment of blue cheese dressings.  The refrigerated dressings, in general, tend to be thicker, and richer in texture than the non-refrigerated ones.  Either type will work in this recipe.  If you want a yogurt-based alternative that’s lower in fat, see the suggestion that follows.    

In a small bowl combine the chicken with the Tabasco and paprika and toss to coat the chicken evenly with the seasonings.  Set aside. 

In a large bowl toss the lettuce with the celery.  Add the dressing and crumbled blue cheese and continue to toss the salad until the lettuce is coated with dressing.  Add the chopped walnuts and toss just to combine.  If you wish, transfer the salad to a large platter for serving.  Arrange the spicy chicken strips and the large walnut pieces on top of the salad.

Serves 4

Variation:  To prepare the salad in wrap form, spread four 9 – 10-inch wraps (or large, soft flour tortillas), each with 1 tablespoon of additional blue cheese dressing.  Mound the dressed lettuce and celery mix across the center of each tortilla, then top with the halves or pieces of fiery hot walnuts and the spicy chicken strips.  Fold the sides of the wrap in slightly, then roll tightly to enclose the filling.   Cut the wrap in half on a diagonal slant.  

Nutrition information per serving: Calories 455; Total Fat 34g; Saturated Fat 9g; Mono Fat 8g; Poly Fat 13g; Cholesterol 44mg; Sodium 747mg; Carbohydrates 22g; Fiber 5g; Protein 20g 


Barbecued Chicken and Fiery Walnut Pizza 


*Note:  Bottled barbecue sauces come in a variety styles, ranging from sweet and tangy to bold and spicy.  If you have a favorite, use it here.   

Preheat the oven to 450ºF.  Smear the olive oil on a 12-inch round pizza pan or a large baking sheet.  If you are using a prepared pizza crust, place it on the pan.  If you are using ready-to-bake raw dough, on a floured surface, roll, pat and stretch the dough into a 12-inch circle.  Place it on the prepared pan. 

Spread the crust or dough with the barbecue sauce.  Arrange the tomato slices in a single layer over the sauce—it’s okay if they don’t cover the sauce completely.  Distribute the chicken over the tomatoes, then sprinkle with half the cheese.  Scatter the walnuts on top, then sprinkle with the remaining cheese. 

Bake 18 – 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling around the edges.  Cool for 2 – 3 minutes, then cut into 8 wedges. 

Serves 8 

Nutrition information per serving: Calories 310; Total Fat 14g; Saturated Fat 2.5g; Mono Fat 2.5g; Poly Fat 5.5g; Cholesterol 20mg; Sodium 500mg; Carbohydrates 34g; Fiber 2g; Protein 16g


Guacamole Walnut Chicken Salad


Cut chicken breasts and cook in the oven at 350°F degrees fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until done. Cut chicken into cubes.

While chicken is cooking, cut avocados in half and remove insides. Mash avocado meat into a paste. Add juice from 1 lime, and garlic. Cut plum tomatoes removing seeds and then cube.  Dice the small onion and celery.

Add chicken, tomatoes, onion and celery to the avocado mixture. Add walnuts for the extra crunch and flavor. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4

Nutrition information per serving: Calories 370; Total Fat 32g; Saturated Fat 4g; Mono Fat 10g; Poly Fat 16g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 120mg; Carbohydrates 18g; Fiber 10g; Protein 9g


Recipes Courtesy of California Walnut Commission

Contact Torme Lauricella Public Relations

(415) 956-1791;