The Wonderful Ways of the Walnut

Image: Thrive Forward

Did you know that when it comes to breast cancer prevention, the walnut may be a magical nut? It's true: their phytosterols (cholesterol-like molecules found in plants) have been shown to block estrogen receptors in breast cancer cells, possibly slowing the cells' growth.

It's recommended that women who are at risk of breast cancer due to age or family history consume around one ounce of walnuts daily.

While they're fine to eat on their own (an ounce of nuts and a piece of fruit actually make an excellent, balanced afternoon snack), walnuts can be a bit bitter in flavour, and may get a little repetitive if you're eating them plain, day in and day out.

Luckily, these magical little nuts are also very versatile - you can include them in your oatmeal in the morning, bake with them, and - here's the coolest part ever - replace them for meat in some dishes.


Yes! With the tiniest bit of prep work, walnuts can mimic the consistency and even flavour of meat in some dishes.

My favourite way to use walnut meat is in tacos. If you're avoiding grains, you can even turn them into lettuce wraps! 

On the whole, the leg work is minimal, the result is delicious, and you're preventing breast cancer while you're at it. See? I told you - magic.


Walnut Tacos

Recipe from Thrive Forward



  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

For the taco seasoning*:

  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • 1/2 cup raw macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 to 1 chipotle pepper packed in adobo sauce
  • 2 Tbsp of adobo sauce from the jar of chipotle peppers
  • 1/4 cup water

Taco shells:

  • 1 head bibb lettuce, leaves separated, OR
  • Sprouted grain or gluten-free organic corn tortillas

Optional toppings:

  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted
  • Red onion, finely diced
  • Tomato, diced
  • Sunflower sprouts
  • Red cabbage, shredded
  • Cilantro leaves


Soak the walnuts in water for about an hour. Drain thoroughly.

Process soaked walnuts to the texture of cooked ground beef/turkey.

With the processor running, pour in the olive oil. Scrape into a serving bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons of the taco seasoning*.

Make the sauce:

Blend all sauce ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth. Scrape into a serving bowl. (Start with half a chipotle pepper, taste, and add more to increase spicy heat to your preference).

To Serve:

Spoon some of the walnut mix into a lettuce leaf.

Spoon some of the sauce over the walnuts and top with toppings of your choice.

* You will not need all the taco seasoning for one recipe. Reserve extra seasoning for future use.