My casseroles have never been happier. 
Diamond Nuts
Credit: Courtesy Diamond of California

Who doesn't love a bit of crisp or crunch in a meal? From a coating on a roasted rack of lamb or a pan-fried schnitzel to a crispy crust on my casseroles, that added texture can really make a dish. Unfortunately, these crisp additions to my cookery are almost always reliant on breadcrumbs, flour, cracker bits, or some other carb. Which is delicious, but not great for folks who might be trying to keep their carb counts low. Like me.

The genius breadcrumb alternative: Diamond Nuts new Nut Coatings!

You can imagine my excitement to discover that Diamond Nuts, a classic brand available in most grocery stores and supermarkets, has a new product that answered my prayers: Diamond Nut Coatings. These breadcrumb alternatives are made with a blend of ground pecans and walnuts, seasonings, and some potato flour to help them stick.

Diamond Nuts
Credit: Courtesy Diamond of California

They come in Original flavor, which, with a bit of black pepper and rosemary added, is a truly versatile topping, plus Italian and Ranch flavors as well. The Italian blends garlic, onion, and Italian herbs into the nut blend; Ranch adds citric acid for punch and leans into dried dill and chives. You can use these next-to-no-carb beauties anywhere you would use seasoned breadcrumbs: to coat proteins, top casseroles, or even just toast up to sprinkle on salads or vegetables.

Carb counters, take note: Diamond Nut Coatings are around 4 grams of carbs per serving, making them a good fit for low-carb, vegetarian, vegan, keto, and paleo diet plans.

I discovered these gems at my local Target, so look for them locally or order them directly from the source, online. 

To buy: Diamond Nut Coatings ($3.99),

How to make your own nut coatings

Not a fan of pecans or walnuts? Prefer to control the flavors? You can DIY a version of your own nut crust:

Start with one cup of finely ground nuts (I make it extra easy by buying almond meal, which is a great neutral base to begin with. No grinding needed). Add a tablespoon of either potato flour, corn starch, or tapioca starch. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and any dried spices or herbs you love. If you want a Ranch version, blend in some powdered Ranch mix; for Italian, just add an Italian herb blend and some garlic and onion powder.

But don't stop there: You can also create all sorts of custom flavors. Mix in powdered ginger and vadouvan curry powder. Or add in toasted dried onion flakes and dried chives for a coating that will lean deliciously into onion dip flavors. Finally, if you are looking for a great non-dairy sprinkle for pasta to mimic Parmesan, mix your ground nuts or the Original flavor of the Diamond Nut Coating with nutritional yeast in a 2:1 ratio. 

One important thing to remember when using nut coating blends

While you can and should use these just like breadcrumbs, be aware that since nuts contain natural oils and sugars, they can burn a little easier than breadcrumbs. Keep an eye on things as they cook, flipping frequently when pan-frying to prevent burning. When roasting or baking, cover with foil if they start to brown too quickly.