Cashews vs. Walnuts vs. Almonds: WTF Is The Big Difference?

By Betchy Crocker

Oh, nuts. We enjoy you in salads, in trail mix, and sprinkled over ice cream. You are the start of many-a nut butter, and we salute you for your protein.

So, in honor of the new dietary guidelines cracking down on sugar, we shall delve into the differences and uses of three of our favorite nuts: cashews, walnuts, and almonds.


These moon-shaped nuts (which are actually seeds) come from a tropical evergreen tree which grows in neat places like Brazil, Vietnam, India, and Nigeria. Cashews are often used in stews and shits in and around these countries (like, you’d probably notice them in certain Asian curries) because they’re totally more starch than oily nut (LOL), so they’re pretty good at thickening shit. Fun fact: the shell of the cashew is super poisonous, which is why a) cashews are so expensive and b) why you’d can’t shell them yourself.

So what’s it best in? You definitely want to utilize cashews in Chinese style curries and hot pots; some Thai dishes; and as a crunch factor in salads. If you’re looking for a way to create nut milk, the cashew should be your go-to. Cashews are also good in terms of their low calories; only 160 for like 16 nuts.


Almonds are the basic bitch of nuts, but they’re slightly more complex than they appear. First of all, they’re actually called a drupe – not a nut. There’s an outer covering that’s grey-green in appearance and inside is the hard, woody, outer shell. Inside that shell is the seed – really, the nut. Thanks, science.

You can find almond trees all over the Mediterranean, Middle East and Asia, but they're also springing up in California where 90-lb bikini models use it as a source of protein in their green smoothies, or so we hear. Almonds are super adaptable, being presented in every form from flaked to flour to whole. You can also get almond milk and almond butter at your local Whole Foods.

What’s it best in? If you’re unadventurous, sprinkle almonds over your apple, brie, and arugula salad. If you’re a bit more daring, get some almond paste at an ethnic gourmet store and create some Moroccan desserts. Almonds are the lowest-calorie nuts at 160 per 23 nuts.


Finally, we come to walnuts. These bitches are actually the nut of any tree within a specific genus of tree called Juglans. As the walnut’s outer husk becomes riper, it peels back and reveals the shell within, which encloses the actual nut. There are also two main types of walnuts: English and black. You’re probably eating the black, considering that’s what most California nutteries (is that a word? It is now) grow.

How should you be eating them? We all know you can grab some candied walnuts and sprinkle them on your froyo, but you can also pickle walnuts for a weird and awesome salad topping. Try them ground with cinnamon and sugar for veins of sweetness in coffee cake, or just straight up raw as a snack. Black walnuts offer the most protein with the least saturated fat, so if you’re cutting back on meat, up the nuts.

Hooray, nuts. We like pecans and peanuts, too, but if you can’t figure out what to do with them we just can’t help you.




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