Foods You Didn’t Know Contain Nuts
Nut allergies can be tricky. In the past controlling my nut allergies seemed much simpler as I mainly had to avoid the obvious foods that contained nuts such as, a packet of whole nuts, a Snickers bar, or Peanut M&Ms. These products were usually labelled and marketed clearly indicating that they contained nuts- remember the snickers bar ad (GET SOME NUTS!)
But now the food trends have changed, and consumers demand for products featuring ingredients perceived as natural and healthy, spurring the interest in a wide variety of nuts. Food manufactures are taking action as they increase their marketing campaigns to focus on healthy snacks consisting of high protein, sourced from nuts; including whole nuts, nut oils, nut flavourings, nut flours and nut toppings in the majority of food products.
This often leaves it extremely difficult to know what foods to trust or avoid as I’ve noticed a lot of products that I’ve been eating for years, now have a may contain statement.
This led me to investigate products further and I discovered some other foods that I had no idea contained nuts so I felt it right to share this with the allergy community.
Check out the list below:
- Mole Sauce is a traditional marinade and sauce originally used in Mexican Cuisine and generally contains fruit, chilli pepper, nuts, and such spices as black pepper, cinnamon and cumin. Ingredients that can be added can include nuts (such as almonds, peanuts, or pine nuts), seeds (such as sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, or squash seeds), cilantro, seedless grapes, plantains, garlic, onions, cinnamon, and chocolate.
- Marzipan consists primarily of sugar or honey and almond meal(ground almonds), or sometimes with almond oil or extract. It’s often made into sweets such as chocolate-covered marzipan and small marzipan imitations of fruits and vegetables.
- It can also be used in biscuits or rolled into thin sheets and glazed for icing cakes – birthday cakes, wedding cakes, Christmas cakes. This is particularly common in the UK, specifically with fruitcakes.
- Marzipan paste may also be used as a baking ingredient, as the filling in Stollen (a fruit bread of nuts, spices, and dried fruit, coated with powdered sugar or icing sugar) or Banket (a type of pastry or cookie that is typically prepared using a mixture of flour, eggs and butter or puff pastry as its base and filled with almond paste or persipan, dusted with sugar. Marzipan is also used in Tortell, and in some versions of King Cake. Traditional Swedish Princess Cake is typically covered with a layer of marzipan that has tinted pale green or pink.
- Pesto Sauce is a sauce originating in Genoa, Italy. It traditionally consists of crushed garlic, pine nuts, salt, basil leaves, hard cheese such as Parmesan cheese or Pecorino Sardo (cheese made from sheep’s milk), all blended with olive oil. There are nut free versions available so make sure to check the ingredients label thoroughly before considering it. Also I always ask the restaurant to show me the original food label packaging of the pesto to check the label myself as on one occasion when the staff confirmed it was a nut free version, I had a severe reaction. So always check yourself, you’re the expert of your own food allergies. You can also make your own homemade nut free pesto!
Chicken Tikka Masala Curries
- Chicken tikka masala is a dish of roasted marinated chicken in a spiced curry sauce. The sauce is usually creamy and orange-coloured. Creamy curries, such as tikka masala, korma and pasanda, often contain cashew nuts and ground almonds as part of their ingredients as well as being cooked in nut oil. Therefore, you should be very cautious when eating in restaurants and cuisines that specialise in curries.
Gluten Free Foods
- Some gluten-free flours include almond and coconut, therefore the gluten free bread, pastries and products may contain nuts.
- Most pre-made granola cereals and bars will contain nuts such as almonds, cashews, hazelnuts and walnuts. However, there are some nut free versions. I usually make homemade granola so I can control the ingredients used.
- Most veggie burgers contain veggies and beans however, to add flavour some burgers can contain chopped macadamias, cashews or walnuts.
- Nougat is sometimes made with finely chopped nuts such as hazelnuts.
- Vegan cheese can be made from different plant proteins and fats. It can be made from seeds, such as sesame and sunflower; nuts, such as cashew, pine nut, and almonds and soybeans, peanuts, coconut oil, nutritional yeast, tapioca, and rice, among other ingredients.
Some alcohols may contain nuts such as:
- Amaretto (flavoured with almonds)
- Ratafia liquer, wine and biscuits (flavoured with almonds)
- Bombay Sapphire Gin (almonds)
- Charbay Nostalige (black walnut)
- Frangelico (hazelnut)
- Kahana Royale (macadamia nut)
- Nocello (walnut)
It is not definite that these drinks will cause an allergic reaction if you are allergic to nuts however the drinks companies state ”the nuts are infused into a distillate so there are generally no problems for people with nut allergies, however, caution should be exercised.”
- Some vodka makers sell bottles infused with flavour from hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts and other tree nuts.
- Some beers may contain peanuts, macadamia, walnut or other tree nuts.
- I’ve heard of a peanut Cocktail/punch before so be aware of cross contamination when ordering drinks at bars.
Coffees – Cappicino, Lattes
- So this is more about the milk in your coffee containing nuts rather than the coffee beans. The equipment such as the steaming wand or spoons to mix your coffee would be used in a variety of different milks and milk alternatives to heat it up. Milk alternatives commonly used in cafes are almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk. Also some coffee shops offer coffee flavourings that may be nut based such as hazelnut or almond based syrups.
- Many restaurants use vegetable oil with canola oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil, palm oil, corn oil, soybean oil to fry their food however, some restaurants including Five Guys use peanut oil for deep frying. Peanut oil is known for its high smoke point and neutral taste which makes it appealing for frying food. It’s also low in saturated fat and high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, making it healthier for frying. Peanut oil is also popular throughout Asian cuisine, and some may even use it exclusively in the kitchen.
- Peanut oil can be refined or unrefined. Research has shown that refined peanut oil will not cause allergic reactions for the majority of people who are allergic to peanuts and if anyone does suffer a reaction it is likely to be mild. However, unrefined (crude) peanut oil is more likely to cause symptoms.
Make sure to ask the restaurant, food truck, or catering company, do they use peanut oil in their kitchen.
- Peanuts and peanut butter are sometimes used to thicken a soup. Many Chinese broth soups contain almonds or peanuts to give the broth a hint of sweetness.
Sauces and Salad Dressings
- Satay sauce, pesto sauce, tikka sauce, peanut sauce all contain nuts.
Ham and Cold Cuts
- Some ham and cold cuts may include nuts as their ingredient for flavour. Mortadella, an Italian sausage or ham made of ground cured pork, pork fat, is flavoured with ground black pepper, myrtle berries and pistachios.
- This one is a surprise, but the research makes sense. Honeybees pollinate many plant species that are not native to their natural habitat. They can pollinate cashew plants, brazil nut plants, coconut plants, chestnut plants, macadamia nut plants, almond plants, however not peanut plants. Since most allergies are protein based, and pollen contains many of the proteins produced by the parent plant (eg nut plant), there is a chance that honey or pollen from those plants could be a problem. A bee keeper mentioned on Beesource.com that their honey was collected when cotton and soybeans were blooming and therefore, one of their customers with a soy allergy reacted to their honey. As a result, they have now added an additional label to their seasonally honey to inform customers of the potential trace of soy. To be safe, it is best to check with your honey farm what plants their bees frequent.
- I also want to explain the idea behind honey as a remedy for allergies. It is thought to work the same way allergy shots work. As local honey is made using local pollens (local plant pollen in your area that may cause you to have allergy symptoms or hay fever), ingesting this seasonal honey every day for 2 months before the pollen seasons hits, is thought to desensitize you to those pollens. There are anecdotal stories saying people have found relief from allergy symptoms with honey however it hasn’t been scientifically proven in studies. So, if you find relief from it great, but don’t expect any miracles with it.
- Nuts might not be a classic ingredients in chillies however peanut butter can be used to thicken chillies or added for flavour in a chilli burger.
- Peanut butter may be used to seal egg rolls.
- Macarons may contain a peanut filling
- Macaroons are a small cake or cookie and made from ground almonds, coconut or other nuts with sugar and other ingredients.
Hydrolyzed plant protein
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
- These proteins may be from peanuts or soy.
Other names for Peanuts:
- Arachis Oil/ Arachic oil
- Arachis hypogaea
- Beer Nuts
- Goober nuts, goober peas
- Ground nuts
- Mandelonas, Nu-Nuts
- Nut meats
- Cold pressed, extruded, or expelled
- Hypogaeic acid
- Spanish peanuts
Unfortunately, this list is going to keep growing due to the popularity of using nuts as healthier options andin vegan and vegetarian dishes. I’ll try my best to keep this list updated when I come across other unusual foods containing nuts. However, if you can think of any other foods that we should be aware of please let me know in the comments below 🙂