Almonds Add Flavour and Crunch to Winter Dishes

Winter foods typically mean one thing: comfort. Regardless of the climate, we crave the root vegetables and braised meats that go with the season and keep our bellies full and warm. Luckily, almonds in all their forms guarantee these dishes taste as indulgent and delicious as the very things we crave.

Chef Anthony Rose of the trend-setting Drake Hotel in Toronto, is a consummate pro at using seasonal foods and almonds to create comforting, delicious and unexpected dishes. His wintry creations take the best of what the season has to offer and add the distinct crunch and flavour of almonds.

“I love the rich, buttery flavour and crunch of toasted almonds,” Rose explains. “They make the perfect addition to any dish, whether a starter, main course or even in dessert and cocktails. Braised dishes and winter salads always benefit from the unrivaled crunch almonds provide.”

Chef Rose’s winter recipes, such as roasted beets in a tangy mustard-almond vinaigrette and braised pork shoulder with an apple-almond compote, create an entire menu that balances seasonal ingredients with zesty flavours and the crunch of almonds. But most popular are his Almond-Crusted Pumpkin Fritters, a tasty treat that always lends a colourful, festive, and crunchy start to any cozy gathering.

Visit for more recipes by Chef Anthony Rose and the Almond Innovator team: Pastry Chef Jenny McCoy of Craft in New York City, and mixologist Matthew Biancaniello of the Library Bar in Los Angeles.

Almond Crusted Pumpkin Fritters

Makes 16-20 servings


1 lb (454 g) cooked Kabocha squash (1 small raw)

1/2 lb (227 g) cooked russet potato (1 large raw)

2 tbsp (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp (15 mL) crushed chili flake

1 cup (250 mL) salt

3 tbsp (45 mL) chopped sage

1 oz (30 g) grated parmesan

1 oz (30 g) grated cheddar

1 egg yolk

zest of half a lemon

4 eggs

1 1/2 cup (375 mL) all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cup (375 mL) toasted crushed almonds

salt and pepper, to taste

1 bag micro greens


Set oven to 350°F (190°C). Split squash width-wise and scrape out seeds. Drizzle each half with olive oil, and sprinkle with chili flakes, a pinch of salt and pepper and let sit for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, stab each potato four times around with a fork. Line another sheet pan with the cup of salt and place the potatoes on top. Place squash face-down on a parchment lined sheet tray.

Bake both squash and potatoes in the oven for 1 hour or until soft. Remove from the oven, carefully split open potatoes lengthwise to steam, and allow all to cool completely.

When cool, scoop out squash and potato into bowl and add sage, parmesan, cheddar, egg and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper. Combine thoroughly; a chunky texture is fine.

Prepare fritters for frying. Set up three bowls and one parchment lined sheet tray. In one bowl, whisk together eggs; place almonds and flour separately in two other bowls.

With a large spoon or scoop, take about 2 tbsp (30 mL) of squash mixture and form an oval; dredge in flour, dip in egg and roll in almonds before placing onto the sheet pan. Repeat with remaining squash and refrigerate until ready to fry.

In a deep, heavy bottomed pan, heat oil to 300°F (150°C) and carefully pan fry the fritters until golden brown on each side, approximately 2 ½ minutes each side. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Serve hot on a small bed of microgreens with or without sauce.

Almond Crusted Pumpkin Fritter Sauce


1/2 cup (125 mL) sour cream

1/4 tsp (1 mL) finely chopped Thai chili

2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped chives

1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon zest

1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) lemon juice

2 tsp (10 mL) maple syrup

1 tsp (5 mL) kosher salt

1/2 tsp (2 mL) cracked black pepper


In a bowl, thoroughly combine all ingredients. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for at least one day before serving. Mix thoroughly before serving.

Nutritional Analysis per serving: Calories: 169.3, Fibre: 2.5 g Fat: 10.4 g, Cholesterol: 56 mg

Sat Fat: 1.7 g, Sodium: 206.1 mg, Mono Fat: 5.8 g, Calcium: 104.1 mg, Poly Fat: 2 g, Magnesium: 43.2 mg, Protein: 6.4 g, Potassium: 276.4 mg, Carb: 14.1 g, Vitamin E: 3.4 mg*

* total alpha-tocopherol equivalents