- 1 What Are Pine Nuts?
- 2 Why Substitute Pine Nuts?
- 3 Best Pine Nuts Substitutes
- 4 Final Words
Were you about to make a dessert and you just ran out of pine nuts? And now you are worried about getting a substitute for pine nuts. Well, then you have landed at the right place and we have got you covered!
The subtly flavored yet crunchy pine nuts go well with any taste starting from sour to sweet. So it has become a critical ingredient as it can be added to numerous cuisines.
However, we have got you some of the best alternatives to pine nuts like walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts among others, without needing you to go an extra mile. So without any further ado, let’s dive right in and see how the substitutes are similar to pine nuts.
What Are Pine Nuts?
Pine nuts are small, delicate, and edible seeds obtained from pine cones. They have a very high oil content and have a soft and buttery texture. After chewing a few, you may get a slightly resinous, pine-like flavor.
It is mildly flavored and has a creamy and moderately sweet taste. So, this ambidextrous nut is extensively used in wholesome dishes, sweet preparations, and also in baked goods like bread and cookies. It is also a classic pesto ingredient. However, a common substitute for pine nuts can also do the trick, without affecting your dish, health, or pocket.
How Are Pine Nuts Used in Culinary?
The mild, buttery, and sweet flavored pine nuts are essential in a good number of preparations. The sub for pine nuts can also be used to add a similar touch to your favorite recipes. Here’s how pine nuts are used in culinary:
- Pesto sauce: Pine nuts are often critically important here. They enhance the flavor and also enrich the sauce with its slight nuttiness and creamy texture.
- Salad toppings: Pine nuts have a high oil content. Roasting them for some time increases their crunch along with intensifying their flavor. When this is added to salads, it is a complete lip-smacking recipe.
- Dips: Roasted pine nuts can serve as a great garnish too. Topping the dips or messes with it makes it more tempting.
- Desserts: Who can resist a delicious, buttery tart crust with the nutty flavor of pine nuts infused in it? The soft consistency of this nut in desserts makes them more mouth-watering.
- Coffee: piñón or pine nut-infused coffee is a much-appreciated recipe in the Southwest United States where pine nut oil or pine nuts are used.
- Bread dough: Add some crushed pine nuts into the bread machine and witness how delicious bread can taste after getting a touch of it.
Pine Nuts Benefits
Pine nuts have a high content of iron, magnesium, zinc, protein, and antioxidants. It also contains Manganese, Calcium, Phosphorus, and Vitamin E and K. It has a high nutritional value which can enhance our energy levels. Here are some of the finest benefits of pine nuts:
- It can keep your skin healthy and young for its antioxidant content.
- Pine nuts may reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and improve your heart health in the short and long run.
- It can lower your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and increase good (HDL) cholesterol levels.
- It helps to stabilize the blood sugar levels and also improves insulin’s functioning.
- The contents of pine nuts can help to build and repair brain cells. This will increase blood flow to the brain and also improve your thinking potential. This will boost your overall cognition and lower the chances of dementia.
Why Substitute Pine Nuts?
Pine nuts also require substitutes for some reasons, which are listed below:
Less Available and Expensive
Pine nuts have a complicated harvesting process. They also take more time to mature. So they are rare and difficult to find. No doubt pine nuts are great for health.
And this makes them costlier than the other nuts. But the extra penny is worth the flavor. Sometimes, an increase in demand may also cause a shortage in the supply of pine nuts and a hike in its price.
Substitute pine nuts are readily available and are also pocket-friendly.
Pine Mouth or Pine Nut Syndrome
After eating pine nuts, some people may experience a disturbance in their taste buds. This leaves a temporary effect where the person may experience the metallic or bitter taste from some days to some weeks. A pine nut substitute will never cause any such problems.
Best Pine Nuts Substitutes
Here is the list of the best substitutes for pine nuts:
Who doesn’t love the crunchy, toasted almonds in baked goodies and other delicacies? Almonds are very healthy, delicious, and easily available everywhere. It is an excellent pine nut replacement, with a unique flavor but similar texture.
A relatively pocket-friendly ingredient, walnuts are widely used as a substitution for pine nuts in salads, pasta, pesto, and baked foods. But they may taste slightly bitter with their skin on. Try roasting the nuts and then peeling off the skin to enjoy the original, enhanced flavor.
A popular ingredient in Italian dishes, pistachios taste a bit different than pine nuts. But still, they serve as an excellent pine nut sub. Frequently used in sweet and savory dishes, they go very well with pesto, pasta, and salads.
These have a unique sweet and buttery flavor that is used in baked products like cakes and bread at large. It is also roasted with honey and crushed using homemade ice cream. Pecans are big. So they have to be chopped and crushed before using in food preparations.
An outstanding ingredient for Italian and Mediterranean cuisines, hazelnuts just require to be sliced and sprinkled over salads or other foods. It also goes well with baked items and desserts in place of pine nuts, giving them a nutty crunch.
If you are looking for a more economical substitute, peanuts have got your back. Their buttery taste is quite appreciable when used in recipes. And it goes very well when added for preparing cookies, adding to the crunch.
The price of this ingredient can differ from place to place. But if you have some leftover Macadamia nuts, don’t mind putting them in your pesto. They serve as a better ingredient than pine nuts.
And you will surely not be disappointed after using it. Their intense flavor and creamy texture will surely be a great delight!
Who doesn’t love these? Even simple roasted and salted cashews are a great favorite among the masses. This should be your go-to option when you want something to cover up the need for pine nuts.
Very affordable and easily found, you can add cashews to anything you want and enrich its texture and flavor. Roasting them before adding them in with other ingredients will slightly increase its crumbly nature.
These can be an excellent choice for adding crunch to your salads. You can also add it to your bread and increase your nutritional intake. Sunflower seeds are obtained from parched sunflowers. They give out a slightly nutty taste, but they are not recommended for making pesto. They give out a grey color, which may not make the pesto hue better.
This is another nut-free substitute for pine nuts. Sesame seeds can be easily sprinkled over salad and desserts. But adding it to pesto can change its flavor and texture considerably. However, roasting the seeds for some time can enhance their aromatic essence.
This edible ingredient is generally roasted before eating. They are widely used in Mexican dishes and are also consumed as a healthy and nutritious snack. Putting in pumpkin seeds can be a great nut-free sub, increasing the consistency and flavor of the dish.
These are essentially green soybeans that are prepared and served as a starter. They have a mild and crunchy taste that makes them an apt replacement for pine nuts. Although they differ a little from pine nuts in taste, they don’t make the flavor in the dishes overwhelming.
Pesto-Specific Pine Nut Alternatives
Most people know what are pine nuts for pesto. You can easily find many replacement for pine nuts in pesto. Some of them are listed below.
However, it is not necessary to use nuts all the time as many types of pesto don’t require nuts like mint or fresh asparagus pesto.
- White Beans: These impart a creamy base to your pesto sauce. Their mild flavor allows you to prepare the sauce exactly how you love it.
- Peanuts: This is another great substitute for pine nuts in pesto sauce. It gives you a thick, creamy pesto with a crunchy twist.
- Roasted Edamame Beans: As a pesto ingredient, these provide the same attributes to the pesto, like peanuts. But it doesn’t give out a strong flavor like them.
- Brazil Nuts: These are big nuts with a fleshy texture like a coconut. They impart a rich, smooth, and buttery savor like the pine nuts, so they can be blindly used as a pine nut sub.
- Pistachios: These give a powerful touch to your pesto. The natural green color also makes your pesto more tempting.
- Hazelnuts: The blanched ones make for better pine nut replacements as the skins of hazelnuts have a bitter taste. But their strong flavor is truly relished in desserts.
Whether it be pasta, salads, pesto sauce, or sweet goodies, pine nuts are a very awaited addition to all of them. But if you are unable to use it for some reason, substitute for pine nuts are here to readily bid farewell to all your worries. Starting from walnuts and pistachios to sunflower seeds and edamame seeds, you will get a range of nut and nut-free options to add to your signature dishes. Do let us know which one is your favorite pine nuts alternative in the comment section!