Nuts often get a bad rap because of their high fat content. But the fat in most nuts is the healthy unsaturated variety.

That doesn't mean you should eat nuts with abandon, but you should feel no guilt about working them into a healthy diet.

The trick is moderation. And because nuts are so rich, moderation can be easy. All that rich flavor means it doesn't take much to feel satisfied. Whether you prefer them in a dish, on a salad, or as a snack by the handful, they are a great choice for healthy eating.

Nuts generally have a deeper flavor when toasted. To toast raw nuts, place them on a dry baking sheet and roast for 10 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees. Keep a close eye, because they go from toasted to burnt very quickly.

The freezer is the best place to store nuts. Because all their healthy oils put them at risk for going rancid, place them in a zip-close bag and squeeze out the air before freezing.

Roasted Tomatoes with Ricotta and Walnuts

Ingredients:

4 large tomatoes, halved and cored

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano

1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Balsamic vinegar (optional)

Directions:

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Place a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Spray the rack with cooking spray.

Arrange the tomatoes on the rack, cut sides up. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the salt, sugar and white pepper. Roast for 1 hour. Flip the tomatoes over and roast for another hour, or until the tomatoes are soft, wrinkly and have shrunken considerably in size.

While the tomatoes are roasting, in a medium bowl stir together the ricotta, basil, thyme and oregano. Set aside to allow the flavors to meld.

Serve the herbed ricotta alongside the roasted tomato halves. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts and drizzle lightly with balsamic vinegar, if using.

Servings: 4