With a sweet and subtle flavor, pine nuts are supposedly the fanciest amongst all the nuts. This refers to the high prices of these nuts. However, there are cheap alternatives to pine nuts, which will allow you to enjoy your favorite recipes without burning a hole in your pocket. Tastessence lists out pine nut substitutes for you to experiment with.
Did You Know?
Pine Mouth or Pine Nut Syndrome refers to the taste disturbance that people may experience after eating pine nuts. The bitter and metallic taste is said to last from a few days to a few weeks, but with no permanent effect. As there are no known remedies, people tend to use substitutes for pine nuts.
The smell of fresh basil aroma and our mind drifts off to the yummy Italian Pesto sauce. This delicious green sauce pairs well with different varieties of pasta. With basil, garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese, there is another ingredient that makes the Pesto sauce what it is. That ingredient is pine nuts.
Pine nuts have become a must-have ingredient in culinary art as these nuts can be used in starters, main course, and desserts. These nuts taste good with any flavor ranging from sweet to sour. These buttery yet crunchy nuts are collected from female cones of pine trees. Two varieties of pine nuts―Italian pine nuts and Chinese pine nuts―are in high demand in the market. However, due to their intensive harvesting process and the labor needed, these nuts are expensive compared to the other kinds. A pound bag of pine nuts can cost around 60-120 USD; however, these prices aren’t stable always.
Making your favorite recipes with pine nuts shouldn’t be heavy on your wallet. Here, a question arises as to what is a good substitute for pine nuts then? Let us look at cheap alternatives to pine nuts that will let you enjoy your favorite dish without worrying about the expense.
Pine Nut Substitutes
Almonds are considered as a good substitute for pine nuts. They both have a similar texture. However, almonds impart a comparatively subtle flavor. This rich textured and flavored nut works well in desserts. Roasting and silvering almonds intensifies the flavor.
Though they might taste little bitter in comparison with almonds, walnuts can be a suitable solution to replace pine nuts in your cuisine. Roasting and removing the skin will help reduce the bitterness. Chop, pound, or crush the walnuts, and add them in your favorite recipe instead of pine nuts.
Pistachio is the best substitute for pine nuts when you want to prepare Pesto sauce. Pistachios accentuate the green color of the sauce and give a sweeter taste to it. However, adding a little parsley balances the sweet taste of pistachio. This sweet and green nut definitely beautifies your dish.
Pecans are more sweet-flavored and mild than walnuts, and therefore, they are preferred by people. They can substitute pine nuts in desserts and bread as well. Roasting them as per your need will make your dish more pleasing!
Though not as prevalent as pistachios and walnuts, hazelnuts can replace pine nuts in cooking. Experimenting with hazelnuts in Italian and Mediterranean cuisine will reward you highly! These nuts blend well with chocolate. Sprinkle chopped hazelnuts on your salad to enjoy the sweet crunch.
Peanuts are looked at as the cheapest substitute for pine nuts. Use unsalted or honey-roasted peanuts to add a pleasurable flavor to your dish. However, it is best to avoid if you are allergic to peanuts.
Macadamia nuts are another great option, though not necessarily cheaper than pine nuts. With mint and parsley in the Pesto sauce, macadamia nuts work wonders! Macadamia nuts have a strong flavor than pine nuts. These rich and creamy nuts are easily incorporated in sweets and desserts.
Cashew is considered as a close replacement of pine nuts. If you buy cashew nut pieces, it will be easy on your wallet than opting for whole cashew nuts. Roasting these nuts will boost their flavor. Try combining cashews, lemon zest, and raisins in your dishes for a peculiar sweet and savory flavor.
If you are looking for a nut-free replacement for pine nuts, sunflower seeds are an option for you. These seeds will add some crunch to your sauce, salads, and other dishes. However, it might impart its grayish color to the food as well. For example, it might dilute the green color expected in Pesto sauce preparation.
Though used rarely, sesame seeds can work as an alternative to pine nuts in desserts, salads, and sauces. Fried or roasted sesame seeds complement the food with their crispiness.
Lots of recipes are available that use pumpkin seeds or pepitas instead of pine nuts. A great source of proteins and minerals, pumpkin seeds are the right choice if a person suffers from nut allergies.
There is no need to stop making your most loved recipes because it contains pine nuts. You can still devour your favorite dish by using a substitute for pine nuts. Happy cooking!