Feel Good Flexitarian Recipes from California Walnuts

Thursday 15th Feb 2024 |

More and more people are choosing to adopt a Flexitarian Diet, with almost a quarter of Brits now claiming to follow this style of eating[1].

There are no rules to what a Flexitarian Diet should consist of, but as well as eating meat and fish less frequently or in smaller portions, a flexitarian diet aims to promote more plant and whole foods whilst minimising processed foods, refined carbs and added sugars.

For those looking for inspiration for flexitarian mealtimes, California Walnuts has created eight new recipes to try. Covering a range of cuisines with dishes including curries, simple traybakes and flavoursome stir-fries, there are deliciously tempting ideas for every food craving that are packed with goodness.

California Walnuts offer multiple nutrition benefits from being a rich source of the plant-based omega-3, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), 2.7g/ 30g*, 4.4g of protein and 1.4g of fibre[2].  They are packed with antioxidants, have an approved health claim relating to CVD[3] and have the heart healthy seal of approval from Heart UK.

Not only healthy, California Walnuts are also extremely versatile and add great taste and texture to recipes. They have a mild, smooth and creamy flavour, along with a delicious crunch. 

For the ultimate simple supper, tray bakes are the perfect solution. The Chickpea, California Walnut and Potato Traybake makes a hearty vegetarian main or tasty side for everyone at the table to share, plus it is a good source of protein and vitamin C. Whilst the Baked Leeks with Ham & California Walnut Ratatouille is a quick yet comforting dinner that contains less than 500 calories and low in saturated fat.

Bring the flavours of a warmer climate to the table with the Fruity Caribbean Chicken Curry, on the table in under half an hour, it also contains two of your five a day and is good source of protein and fibre. Or for a sausage supper with a twist the Sausage & Grain Stir Fry is tasty way to enjoy sausages whilst ensuring you get two of your five day.

Enjoy nutritious and delicious lunchtimes with the Vegan Bean & California Walnut Buddha Bowls. Containing three of your five a day, a good source of fibre and low in saturated fat. Or take a lunchtime classic to the next level with the Tuna & California Walnut Jacket Potatoes, with less than 500 calories per portion it is also a good source of protein, fibre and low in saturated fat.

If you’re looking for a flavour-packed recipe to use up Sunday’s leftover roast chicken, the Thai Roast Chicken, California Walnut & Endamame Bean Curry is the perfect choice. It is also a good source of protein and gluten free. Finally the California Walnut, Vegetable Pasta Bake uses simple and cheap store cupboard ingredients and makes a feel good vegetarian lunch or dinner option for all the finally to enjoy.


Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 55 minutes

Serves 4

700g potatoes, cut into wedges

2 peppers, 1 red, 1 green, thickly sliced

2 tbsp oil

400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

100g frozen sweetcorn, defrosted

150g cherry tomatoes, halved

100g Cheddar cheese, grated

75g California Walnuts

Chopped parsley to garnish

Preheat the oven to 220oC, gas mark 7.

Place the wedges and peppers on a large baking tray and toss in the oil, season well.  Bake for 40 minutes until the potatoes are crispy.

Toss in the chickpeas, sweetcorn and tomatoes, then scatter with Cheddar and Walnuts. Bake for a further 15 minutes until golden.

Sprinkle over the parsley to serve.

Cooks tip

Great as a snack to share.


Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 25 minutes

Serves 4

2 large leeks, trimmed, each cut into 4

2 x 375g cans ratatouille

150g orzo pasta

75g California Walnuts, roughly chopped

½ x 25g pack basil, shredded

130g pack 4 slices honey roast ham, diced

50g mature Cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 200oC, gas mark 6.

Blanch the leeks in boiling, salted water for 2-3 minutes until just tender, drain.

Heat the ratatouille in a medium saucepan with half a can of water until just boiling. Add the orzo, half the Walnuts and the basil, season and transfer to a 2 litre serving dish and bake for 15 minutes.

Stir in the ham and nestle in the leeks. Scatter over the cheese and remaining Walnuts and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Cooks tip

Remove the ham for a vegetarian option.


Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Serves 4

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

500g chicken thigh fillets, diced

1 red pepper, diced

227g can pineapple slices, cut into chunks

1 tbsp medium curry powder

400g can coconut milk

400g can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

75g California Walnuts, roughly chopped

Rice and coriander leaves to garnish

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion and chicken for 5 minutes, add the pepper and pineapple chunks, reserving the juice, and fry for a further 2-3 minutes.

Stir in the curry powder and cook for 1 minute before adding the coconut milk, pineapple juice and kidney beans, simmer for 10 minutes then stir in the Walnuts, season.

Serve with rice garnished with coriander leaves.

Cooks tip

Use a mild curry powder or hot for extra spice.


Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

Serves 4

250g jasmine or basmati rice, rinsed

1 tbsp vegetable oil

4 spring onions, cut into 1cm pieces

175g frozen edamame beans

200g sugar snap peas, sliced into 2cm pieces

2 tbsp Thai green curry paste

400ml can coconut milk

200g roast chicken meat, shredded

75g California Walnuts, roughly chopped

2 pak choi, halved

Coriander leaves and diced red chilli to serve

Cook the rice in simmering water for 10-12 minutes until tender, drain.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the spring onions, edamame beans, sugar snaps and curry paste for 2-3 minutes. Add the coconut milk, chicken and 50g of the Walnuts, roughly chopped and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Boil another pan of water and blanch the pak choi for 2-3 minutes until just tender, drain.

Place the rice in the centre of 4 plates and top with the curry, serve with the pak choi on the side, scattered with the remaining Walnuts, coriander and red chilli.

Cooks tip

A great way to use up leftover roast chicken.


Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 8 minutes

Serves 2

Juice 1 lemon

1 ½  tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 tsp

3 tsp maple syrup

1 tsp Dijon mustard

150g Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced

1 carrot, cut into ribbons

150g frozen green beans

75g California Walnuts

1 tsp pul biber seasoning, plus extra for serving

½  thick slice wholemeal bread, cubed

400g can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Make the dressing by whisking the lemon juice, 1 tbsp oil, 2 tsp maple syrup and mustard together, season. Mix 1½ tbsp dressing into the sprouts and carrot ribbons and massage gently with your hands for a minute to soften, set aside.

Blanch the green beans in simmering water for 3 minutes, drain and refresh under cold water.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a small frying pan and fry the Walnuts with the remaining maple syrup and pul biber for 1-2 minutes to caramelise, set aside.

Heat the remaining 2 tsp oil in the same pan and fry the bread cubes for 2-3 minutes until golden and crisp.

Place the sprout and carrot ribbons, cannellini beans, green beans and Walnuts in piles around 2 shallow bowls, drizzle over the dressing and top with the croutons to serve.

Cooks tip

For a non-vegan option, try adding some flaked poached salmon.


Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 40 minutes

Serves 4

4 large baking potatoes

200g can tuna in spring water, drained

1 red pepper, finely diced

75g frozen sweetcorn, defrosted

4 spring onions, thinly sliced

50g California Walnuts, roughly chopped

1 tbsp creamed horseradish sauce

3 tbsp low fat mayonnaise

1 tbsp chopped chives

Preheat the oven to 200oC, gas mark 6.

Prick the potatoes with a fork and microwave on high, 2 at a time, each for 5 minutes, transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, mix together the tuna, red pepper, sweetcorn, spring onions, Walnuts, horseradish sauce and mayonnaise. Season to taste.

Cut the potatoes in half and top with the tuna mixture, sprinkle over the chives to serve.

Cooks tip

Try using canned sardines instead of the tuna.


Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Serves 2

175g frozen mixed vegetables, defrosted

75g California Walnuts

3 reduced fat pork sausages

2 tbsp olive oil

200g cherry tomatoes, halved

250g pouch mixed grains

100g spinach

150g fat free natural yogurt

2 tsp wholegrain mustard

Place the mixed vegetables and half the Walnuts in a food processor and pulse to give a coarse paste.  Remove the skins from the sausages and mix the meat into the vegetable paste, season. Divid into 20 small balls.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the meatballs in 2 batches for 5 minutes each until golden, remove and set aside. Add the tomatoes to the pan and fry for 2 minutes, add the grains, remaining Walnuts and spinach and stir until just the spinach has just wilted. Return the meatballs back to the pan, cover and heat through for 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the yogurt and mustard together and serve with the stir fry.

Cooks tip

Try flavoured sausages instead of the pork ones. Any pouch of grain will work such as quinoa or replace with a pouch of mixed rice.


Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Serves 4

250g macaroni

2 x 400g cans minestrone soup

400g can borlotti beans, drained and rinsed

100g frozen peas

75g California Walnuts, roughly chopped

50g breadcrumbs

50g mature Cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 200oC, gas mark 6.

Cook the macaroni in boiling salted water for 7 minutes, drain and return to the pan. Mix in the soup with half a can of water, borlotti beans, peas and 50g Walnuts, bring to the boil and season.

Transfer to a 2-litre serving dish.  Mix together the breadcrumbs, Cheddar and remaining Walnuts and sprinkle over the pasta.  Bake for 20 minutes until golden.

Cooks tip

Try other flavours of soup for variation.

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