Basil Lemon Walnut Cookies
These delicious raw cookies use basil, normally a savoury herb, to increase the complexity of these easy cookies. Lemon adds a touch of sunshine to a walnut and honey base.
I recently attempted to do GAPS. Attempted is the key word.
For those who don’t know what GAPS is, it’s a protocol to heal the gut. This does not affect only digestive issues (bloating, constipation, diarrhea), but helps improve other health issues as well. The acronym stands for Gut And Psychology Syndrome, as Dr. Campbell-McBride developed the program to help her autistic son.
The idea is that an impoverished digestive system can lead to a myriad of health problems because the food you eat actually becomes toxic to your body. The diet starves toxic pathogens in the gut by not eating disaccharides (like sugar, grains, potatoes, etc), heals the lining of the digestive tract with lots of bone broth (gelatin and lots of nutrients), and replaces the bad pathogens with good probiotics. As the gut heals, you slowly re-introduce foods back in, but it can take anywhere from six months to two years.
It’s pretty intensive, but I wanted to try for a number of reasons for our family, including dairy intolerance, bloating, ADHD, and a few other behavioural issues. (GAPS can also help heal allergies and food intolerances.)
My husband and I did it for about three months, and the children ate GAPS when we were home but I didn’t try and limit their food selection when we went places.
I thought I would start when school got out for the summer, as the kids were getting all sorts of treats at school. What I didn’t realize is that almost every weekend during the summer we were often gone visiting friends or traveling. With toddler twins I’m not in a place where I can prepare tons of food beforehand, so I always thought, “we’ll start after x happens.” But then there was always something else happening after.
Another problem was just as I wanted to start, I ran out of bones. We order part of a cow every year, including the bones, and I ran out. It’s not that easy to find piles of pasture raised animal bones. So because we weren’t able to go whole hog at home, I didn’t feel like I could stop the kids from eating other foods when out.
As the diet is quite restrictive, it takes a lot of energy to come up with meal ideas. If we had had bones, I would have constantly made soup (not so great in the summer either), but I didn’t. So I found that I was spending so much energy on what I COULDN’T eat that I wasn’t able to put energy into what we should have been eating, namely probiotics.
Really good quality probiotics are very expensive, doubly so because they are not available in Slovakia, so we needed to eat fermented foods. That means I needed to make fermented foods, yogurt being out because of dairy intolerance. But I didn’t have any energy left to make fermented foods after figuring out what to eat for dinner.
So, we stopped. The conditions weren’t right at the moment, but I haven’t given up. When we get the bones from the cow this year, I think I’ll try again.
For right now, I’m going to concentrate on trying to make lots of fermented foods, and try to get my kids to eat them, and hope that the probiotics crowd out the pathogens.
I got onto a streak of using herbs in sweet dishes this summer. I think it started because I finally have herbs on my balcony this summer, right off the kitchen. Some creations I came up with were Watermelon Lemon Balm Sorbet, Cherry Mint Spritzer, and Strawberry Sage Popsicles.
I hand cracked these walnuts. Let me tell you, the value increases dramatically when you have to put so much work into obtaining the food!
I highly recommend first soaking and drying the walnuts. Not only does it neutralize the phytic acid, it gets rid of the bitter aftertaste that walnuts have. The cookies taste way better when they doesn’t have any bitterness. If you don’t have time to soak and dehydrate, you can soak and roast on a low heat, or at least quickly roast them at 350F/180C for five minutes, which helps but doesn’t eliminate the bitterness.
- 200g / 2 cups walnuts (see note above)
- 3 tbsp honey
- 2 generous tsp lemon peel, grated
- 2 generous tsp fresh basil, finely chopped
- Heat oven to 350F/180C and when hot, roast walnuts for 5 min (see above).
- Pulse walnuts in food processor (or high speed blender) to a coarse meal. Be careful not to overprocess, as the walnuts will then release too much oil.
- Pour walnut meal into a bowl, add honey, grated lemon peel, and finely chopped fresh basil, stir with a wooden spoon until mixed.
- Form the mixture into balls by the teaspoonful, then flatten.
- Savour some quick delicious sweetness!
Have you tried a particular food protocol? Were you able to stick with it?
Shared at Thank Goodness It’s Monday, Real Food Wednesday, Gluten Free Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Platterwise Penny Thursday
Aug 27, 2014 @ 02:30:34
I bet these taste amazing!
Aug 28, 2014 @ 01:23:21
Thanks! They disappear pretty quickly around here!
Kate @ healing family eats
Aug 28, 2014 @ 01:13:18
Hi Naomi, these look so good. I’m definitely going to be trying them out, once we’re back on the nuts!
Aug 28, 2014 @ 23:21:58
I was going to suggest another recipe I have that is AIP friendly, but then are you on GAPS as well? It has carob, which is a no go on GAPS. Good luck with the healing!!
Margo, Thrift at Home
Aug 28, 2014 @ 19:24:57
these look good! I just posted a cardamom ball with minced walnuts – also a no-bake treat.
I’ve really enjoyed herbs differently this summer. I’ve decided that I can grow herbs here in the city and not much else successfully. So I’ve been using herbs in sweets more, or just flavoring water with them and a slice of citrus or cucumber. Some things I’ve done (some of these are on my blog): apple dill cobbler, rosemary raisin scones, lemon tart with rosemary crust, lemon thyme bread, basil ice cream. . . .so fun!
Aug 28, 2014 @ 23:24:12
I have a no bake cookie with walnuts and cardamom too – I guess great minds think alike. 🙂 Apple dill cobbler – that sounds interesting! It is fun coming up with new combinations.
Sep 08, 2014 @ 05:24:05
Yumm! I can’t wait to make these! We follow a GAPS diet too, and even though broth and probiotics are the most important, there are never too many healthy snacks/treats. See my GAPS blog for kids @ glutenfreedomforkids.wordpress.com. Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe, and for emphasizing sprouting nuts and seeds!
Sep 16, 2014 @ 11:45:29
These look delicious! I have been following GAPs for a couple months and am off nuts for the moment but reintroducing macadamia – these might actually work in replacement of walnuts, don’t you think? I really understand what you mean about not having time to prepare all the GAPs food. I myself do not have any children and I have quite a lot of spare time so it’s the reason I have been able to stay on GAPs. I do not know how i’d manage otherwise, but I am SURE that when the right time comes, you will all manage to do it 🙂
Even without going on GAPs, you might just try to eat as much fresh produce as you can and stay gluten and dairy free + probiotics and it will already do a lot 🙂
Good luck and I look forward to reading your next posts!
Kind regards from France,
Sep 16, 2014 @ 23:26:36
Yes, I think macadamia nuts would replace walnuts well, they are both quite oily. Macadamias are so good!
Thanks for the encouragement re: GAPS. I really need to get more probiotics in.
France is so lovely. I have unfortunately forgotten all the French I learned in school 🙁
Sep 20, 2014 @ 18:54:35
I’d love to try these! I am wondering, though- do they taste very basil-y? My kids can be pretty picky….
I have to agree- timing is everything when you introduce a new diet. I thought summer would be a great time, but quickly realized that we are hardly ever home and we really don’t feel like doing much cooking in hot weather.. we will try again this October…
Sep 20, 2014 @ 23:20:17
I didn’t find them basil-y at all, you can try putting a little less in if you are worried.
Good luck with trying a new way of eating! I just got a bag full of chicken feet and some more bones, so I might try again. I’m having fun with my sourdough though.
Oct 08, 2014 @ 01:14:15
These look amazing. Can you provide details on how long to soak the walnuts and how long to dry them? And do you mean air drying? Thanks!
Oct 08, 2014 @ 17:01:05
Thanks! I soak nuts for at least 8 hrs (up to 12 or so, never exact), drain and rinse, and then dry them in a dehydrator or the oven turned very low, mostly just fan until they are crispy. Hope it helps!
Feb 10, 2015 @ 06:13:39
These taste dangerously like baklava. Super yummy!
80 Paleo Recipes Featuring Citrus
Mar 14, 2015 @ 17:13:26
[…] Basil Lemon Walnut Cookies by Almost Bananas […]
Jul 26, 2016 @ 20:35:16
Your GAPS story must resonate with so many other families. The “time, effort and food preparation” can be difficult to manage–so your path sounds just right for you and your family. Doing what you can is the best place to start–adding more probiotics is great path to helping build gut health in your family. I went on full GAPS 3 years ago for my health, and both my husband and I had dramatic, positive health changes. Best wishes for introducing GAPS to your family, and may you all benefit by letting food be your medicine. By the way, I added lacto-fermented dill pickles to our fermented food list this summer. They taste great and they were so easy to make.
Jul 27, 2016 @ 18:39:37
I’m so glad to hear that you had positive health changes from GAPS, there are many people who think of it as quackery. I’m still trying to find that balance between nutrition and sanity 🙂 I’m visiting my mom, who made lacto-fermented dill pickles and all the kids loved them!
Jan 02, 2018 @ 07:51:37
Thanks for the tip about soaking and drying the walnuts to get the bitterness out. My sister has a walnut tree so I get a feed bag full each year and I can only make so much banana bread! Looking forward to trying this recipe.
Jan 03, 2018 @ 14:18:51
You’re welcome! Also check out the nuts in honey recipe I have, you can use only walnuts.
May 15, 2018 @ 17:50:18
How do you store these?
May 16, 2018 @ 13:19:52
Hi, I store them in the fridge in a container with a lid. I haven’t tested how long they stay fresh for, they get eaten first!