Chestnuts aren’t just great for roasting on an open fire. And they aren’t exclusive to the holidays. Chestnuts are a nutrition-rich food that can be a welcome addition to your diet, although they taste more like a potato than a nut. They provide the body with fiber, potassium, calcium, magnesium, folate, and vitamin C.
Chestnuts can easily be prepared in a number of ways, but in most cases they should be cooked. Roast them in an oven and toss with your favorite leafy green or grain salads. You can drizzle them with butter and enjoy as a tapas-style appetizer or snack. If you’ve been in a food rut or just want to experiment with a new nut, this often-overlooked whole food is just waiting to be enjoyed!
You don’t have to be a culinary genius to master this foolproof favorite.
Total: 00:55 Prep: 00:10 Cook: 00:35 – 00:45
1 to 1½ pounds raw, whole chestnuts in shells
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
2. Make a long slice across the top of each chestnut, about ⅛ inch deep through the shell and into the flesh. The nuts can be hard to stabilize, so firmly hold each nut with your thumb and pointer finger while carefully cutting.
3. Place the chestnuts, cut side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until the shells curl out and away from the center, about 35 minutes.
4.Let cool for 5 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Gently squeeze the chestnuts to release them from the shell. Alternatively, wrap the nut in a kitchen towel, and squeeze gently.
- Roasted Chestnuts with Butter. After placing the cut nuts on the baking sheet, drizzle with ¼ cup melted butter and sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon salt. Proceed as directed.
- Green Salad with Mushrooms and Chestnuts. Once cooled and shelled, cut chestnuts in half, and add to a bed of spinach, arugula, or your favorite greens. Add roasted mushrooms.
- Grain Salad with Chestnuts. Once cooled and shelled, cut chestnuts in half. Prepare your favorite grain salad, and toss in chestnuts right before serving.
To prepare ahead, cut the shells and keep nuts in a resealable container or bag at room temperature for up to one day. Roast when ready.
Unlike most nuts, chestnuts tend to be relatively low in protein and fat. However, their combination of nutrients and fiber can give your body the slow, sustainable energy it needs to stay calm, focused, and full.
Chestnuts are easier to find in fall and winter (around the holiday season). However, you can look to jarred chestnuts year-round.