Pine nuts are tiny little things that are known for bringing a subtle nuttiness to many respected dishes. Popular in Mediterranean and Asian cuisine, pine nuts have managed to find their way into appetizers, mains, and desserts, the world over.
Unfortunately, though, their status as an exclusive nut coupled with labor-intensive harvesting methods has meant that pine nuts don’t come cheap – not even close.
In this article, we are going to showcase 15 delicious recipes that use pine nuts sparingly, and to great success. Their rich and buttery taste with undertones of sweetness really helps to elevate typical dishes into something entirely different.
So sit back, relax, and find a pine nut happy recipe or two to impress yourself first, and your family second.
It really doesn’t get any better than fresh basil pesto to kickstart an evening of eating. Served alongside some crackers, carrot sticks, or whatever else you enjoy dipping, this pesto can do no wrong.
Made in just 15 minutes it can also be whipped up in a flash, and if you put some aside you can turn your favorite pasta into a pungent and nutty pesto epic in probably less time than that.
Encrusted in minced sun-dried tomato, toasted pine nuts, and chopped pecans, this appealing-to-the-eye cheesy ball won’t last long. Flavor sensations like Worchestire sauce and basil work in great unison to provide the most enticing ball of cheese we ever did see.
The two base ingredients are goat and cream cheese which seek to lift each other up and be tasted. Serve it with potato chips and crackers and watch as your guests forget about conversing until the entire ball disappears.
These Mediterranean-inspired cheesy melts are ideal for wowing a dinner party crowd, right off the bat. Or, keep them all to yourself as a daily snack that helps you through the afternoon slump.
Using just four ingredients, they take very little time to prepare, and even less time to eat. Ditch the standard potato chip and give these bite-sized parmesan crisps a try, you’ll never look at snacking the same way again.
Serve this hearty stew as a precursor to an Italian-inspired evening of eating and watch the bowls run dry. Chickpeas form the basis of this minestrone-esque stew that has no choice but to make people feel good. Make enough of it and it can be a fully-fledged main.
However, if you’re feeling committed and have the time, this stew, served as an appetizer, will stop the show before it has even commenced.
Often the best appetizers are the ones that can be picked up and devoured in one mouthful. These bite-sized toast slices are just that, and boy oh boy, do they have a seductive lineup of flavors.
Shredded sprouts, raisins, and toasted pine nuts that are generously portioned over ricotta cheese – appetizers don’t come much sharper than that.
The shredded sprouts should be left in a tangy mustard and lemon dressing for at least 15 minutes to give them a zest for life that’s eager to be sampled.
All crust on all fish tastes good, but this pine nut-crusted tilapia takes it to a whole other level. Super simple to make, all you need to do is prepare the dippy egg, lemon, and honey mixture alongside the pine nut crumb, dip the fish in both and fry.
Serve it alongside some seasonal greens and chunky fries to complete a healthy, filling, and delicious meal that tastes as good as it sounds.
Ok, so risotto may not be the quickest dish to prepare, but this recipe will at least make it foolproof, and delicious. From the first slice of squash to being served at the table, the dish takes about an hour and a half in total.
Sometimes, good things do take time, and this sweet and buttery risotto is certainly worth waiting for. Serve it with shaved parmesan and thinly sliced pancetta for a delightful, salty finish.
Take one sideways glance at this beautiful dish and it will stop you in its tracks with your jaw to the fall. The golden seared scallops, roasted cherry tomatoes, and pesto pasta bounce off of each other in the most vibrant of ways.
The toasted pine nuts offer that unmistakable butteriness and, at the very least, start the conversation as to whether this is the greatest pasta dish of all time?
With a good dousing of herbs, spices, parmesan, and chili flakes in tow, when the next pasta night is calling, at least you can safely, that your decision has now been made.
Yes, this is technically just a recipe for stuffing, but don’t discount it just yet, as this will elevate the Thanksgiving turkey straight to super-turkey status. In fact, this wild rice stuffing is so darn delicious that we’d even argue it can be classed as a legitimate dish all on its lonesome.
You could also serve it under some vegetables, some meat, or both – the beauty is in the versatility. Filled with toasted pine nuts, either way, you play it, this stuffing has changed the stuffing game for good.
We enjoy this recipe because it has taken the amazing flavors of North Africa and made them accessible for all. What we mean is that you don’t have to own a tagine to be enchanted by its flavors.
Simmered on a heavy-duty skillet with blood-orange preserves and apricot, the chicken envelops a unique taste and becomes tender beyond belief. The pine nuts offer a nuttiness to combat the fruity flavors of the dish, and round out a delectable chicken, chicken tagine dinner!
11. Pine Nut Brittle
Brittle is a sweet snack that brings many of us back to our childhoods. From your mother’s kitchen to the town fair and everywhere between, brittle is a simple snack with a big heart. This pine nut brittle is a slightly more up-market version of the classic peanut brittle.
Scented with rosemary and sea salt, the brittle has an aromatic taste with the salt cutting straight through it. However, it is the buttery pine nuts that steal the show and help to seal the deal on this fancy snack.
12. Pignoli Cookies
By now, you may have seen a trend forming, and that trend is Italian food and pine nuts. This classic Italian cookie, with Sicilian roots, is essentially an almond macaroon. The two main ingredients are almond paste, otherwise known as “marzipan”, and pine nuts.
With a little sugar to sweeten and egg to bind, these light and fluffy cookies could be all yours. Remember to share though as no one likes a cookie monster who keeps the entire cookie jar to themselves.
Taking no prisoners is this chocolate and pine nut tart that is all parts decadent and all parts delicious. Seriously, this is one of those special tarts that you try once, just once, and you’ll purposefully forget every other tart recipe that you know, the lot of them.
Dark chocolate, ground almonds and toasted pine nuts form the basis of flavor from which this tart flourishes. A beautiful mid-point between ganache tart and chocolate frangipane – if you’re looking to impress that special someone with a deadly dessert – this is the one.
Olive oil cake is a staple dessert of Mediterranean cuisine that, if you’ve never had the pleasure of trying before, is a real nutty treat. This recipe that features toasted pine nuts and dried currants is perfectly capable of being sampled at any time of the day.
Try it after brunch, try it after lunch, and try it after dinner, there’s something about its low-key savouriness that is light enough to enjoy and keep on moving. Skip on the dairy and give this Tuscan treat a try, you won’t be disappointed.
Tarte au Citron is a time-honored french dessert that, with a slight tweaking, has only gone and made its way into just about every supermarket, diner, and bakery of America as lemon meringue pie.
This recipe keeps it traditional on the filling front but slips roasted pine nuts and rosemary into the crust to offer a buttery savory flavor that compliments the lemon.
Be sure to garnish the tart with candied Meyer lemon slices for a bona fide French patisserie that will have your guests saying merci beaucoup before it even touches their lips.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Are Pine Nuts So Expensive?
You may have noticed that pine nuts don’t come cheap. Luckily, most of the recipes listed above only require them in fairly sparing amounts, but that doesn’t make their initial outlay any cheaper.
The reason why pine nuts are so expensive is that they grow in forests not on farms and are extremely labor-intensive to harvest.
Why Do Most Pine Nuts Come From China?
In America, you will find that a good portion of pine nuts sold commercially come from China. The two big reasons for this are cheaper labor and fewer environmental restrictions on pine nut harvesting.
Can You Eat Pine Nuts Raw?
While it is safe to eat pine nuts raw, there’s no denying that they benefit from being toasted or roasted. Cooking them allows their oils to release a which provides that understated but unmistakable buttery pine nut flavor.
When you see pine nuts in a recipe or on a menu, you know that it’s going to be a good meal, because where pine nuts go, decadence follows. They may be small in stature, but the mighty pine nut holds a lot of worth in the world of food.
We hope this article has shown you a few new ways of sneaking some pine nuts into your cooking to give your food that prestigious pine nut taste.