8 Protein-Rich Recipes That Use Chestnuts, an Anti-Inflammatory Superstar

Photo: Stocksy/Rachel Dewis
For some reason, chestnuts don't get as much attention as, say, peanuts, cashews, and walnuts. Heck, even almonds are more popular both in their whole form and when transformed into alternative milk. Except during the holidays. This is the time of year chestnut recipes finally get the attention they deserve.

You know the tune: Chestnuts roasting over an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose...In fact, at many holiday markets, you can buy roasted chestnuts to snack on then and there. Delicious? Yes. But there are so many other ways to incorporate the nut into your meals. You can dress them up with chocolate and espresso for dessert, incorporate them into soups, use them to add more flavor to savory porridge—and that's just a few ideas.

Getting creative with chestnut recipes in the kitchen will directly benefit your health too. "Chestnuts are high in really good quality 'slow' carbohydrates," herbalist, Supernatural founder, and holistic health practitioner Rachelle Robinett, previously told Well+Good. This, she explains, means they help keep blood sugar levels from spiking. Chestnuts are also full of antioxidants and phenols—both of which are directly linked to benefitting the brain and heart and fighting inflammation. They also contain gut-healthy fiber, plant-based protein, magnesium (linked to supporting the brain and immune system), and vitamin C (another immune-system supporter). Yep, you read that right—sipping juice isn't the only way to support your immune system.

Quite a resume, right? But the question remains: What the heck can you cook with them? We got you covered. Keep reading for eight delicious chestnut recipes.

8 healthy chestnut recipes, the underrated, anti-inflammatory nut

1. Chestnut porridge

In the above video, chestnuts are used to make a savory porridge, along with vegetable broth, ginger, cinnamon, star anise, shiitake mushrooms, onion, and cilantro. It's the perfect mix of sweet and savory, and it will warm you up from the inside out.

chestnut soup
Photo: The Spruce Eats

2. Vegan roasted chestnut soup

Similar to the porridge, chestnuts are also paired with vegetable broth and onion in this recipe. But that's pretty much where the similarities end. The texture is completely different and it's all savory goodness with no sweet notes. Okay, there is something else they have in common: Both are perfect for chilly winter days.

Get the recipe: vegan roasted chestnut soup

recipes with chestnuts
Photo: Coriander and Lace

3. Japanese chestnut rice (kuri gohan)

In this recipe, chestnuts are seasoned with mirin, sake, and salt and cooked in a rice cooker alongside the rice. The nuts will have a soft, crumbly texture after cooking and can be eaten easily with chopsticks, alongside the rice. It makes the perfect side or base for protein and veggies.

Get the recipe: Japanese chestnut rice (kuri gohan) 

chicken and chestnuts
Photo: Sweet, Savory, and Steph

4. Chicken and chestnuts

File under "recipes-that-will-impress-all-your-friends." This chicken and chestnuts entree looks and tastes like something that would be served at an expensive restaurant, but it's actually not that hard to make. In fact, it comes together in just 25 minutes.

Get the recipe: chicken and chestnuts

chestnut tiramisu
Photo: Sweet Potato Soul

5. Vegan chestnut tiramisu

Chestnuts, chocolate, and espresso are a trio made in dessert heaven. Here, the nuts are transformed into a creme. There are three steps to making this dessert: Making the chestnut creme, the cake, and the espresso (which is drizzled over the cake). But even with all these different parts, it only takes 35 minutes to make this dessert from start to finish.

Get the recipe: vegan chestnut tiramisu

chestnut puree
Photo: The Minimalist Vegan

6. Chestnut puree with whipped coconut cream

This decadent puree only requires three ingredients: chestnuts, coconut sugar, and water. That's literally it. Simply roast and peel your chestnuts, add them to a food processor with the other ingredients, and puree. Top with whipped coconut cream and dig in.

Get the recipe: chestnut puree with whipped coconut cream 

vegan chestnut cheesecake
Photo: Paleo Pantry

7. Vegan chestnut truffle cheesecake

A cheesecake that's dairy-free and low-sugar that still tastes entirely delicious? Yep, it exists. It bears repeating that chestnuts and chocolates are *chef's kiss.* You'll lick your spoon clean of every velvety, cloud-like bit of this dessert.

Get the recipe: vegan chestnut truffle cheesecake

chestnut fruit cake
Photo: The Healthy Foodie

8. Chestnut fruitcake

This is one fruitcake people will actually rave about. Besides the chestnuts, pecans, walnuts, dates, raisins, and dried apricots are all blended and incorporated into the cake itself. Then, the whole shebang is coated in a frosty coconut glaze.

Get the recipe: chestnut fruitcake

Get more healthy recipe ideas in Well+Good's Cook With Us Facebook group.

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