Substitute for Pine Nuts – 7 Best Alternatives That Actually Work
Now is the right time to find varied substitutes for ingredients you thought you couldn’t make. I for one use substitutes for many ingredients that I either don’t like to eat or don’t have in my pantry.
For example, I recently switched to cashew nuts to make my salad dressing because I didn’t have mayonnaise for potato salad! So you know, substitutes are amazing!
Let’s also talk about pine nuts for a minute or two. Pine nuts contain plenty of healthy fats, vitamin E, and magnesium. When paired with healthy salads, they offer many health benefits for the heart, weight loss, digestive system, and cognitive health.
Today, I’ve found just the perfect substitute for pine nuts for you. You can use these substitutes for baking, pasta, salads, and much more. Are you ready? Let’s get started!
Substitutes for Pine Nuts
If you’ve never heard of or used pine nuts in a recipe, here’s a fun fact. If you’ve ever had pesto sauce before, the key ingredient in a pesto sauce is pine nuts. It’s a famous Mediterranean ingredient that is also widely used in salads, Italian dishes, and baking recipes.
The real reason for why most people prefer not to put pine nuts in everything is because they are expensive. And if you don’t live in an area where there are many supermarkets around, they can be hard to find.
Another eco-friendly reason to look for substitutes for pine nuts is that they are becoming rarer and rarer to harvest. This also explains their high price and low availability.
That is why looking at the following options is necessary.
1. Cashew Nuts
To be honest, any kind of nut including walnuts are great substitutes for pine nuts. But cashew nuts retain the most similar flavor and texture to pine nuts. But after you chop and roast cashew nuts.
Toasting the cashew nuts will get them to taste ever similar to pine nuts. Just dryly roast the chopped cashew nuts on a pan for 3 to 5 minutes on low heat. Or until they release a fragrant and earthy scent.
You can do the same for almonds. Chop them into half-inch pieces and roast them until they have turned slightly brown. The nutty flavor and crunchy texture of almonds taste just like pine nuts.
Food experts have invented plenty of recipes using cashews or almonds instead of pine nuts for salad dressing, pesto, pasta, etc. So what’s stopping you?
Pistachios are another great substitute for pine nuts. Pistachios are used in Italian recipes. For cooking pasta, making aioli, pesto, and other creamy and nutty sauces.
You can replicate the flavor and nutty texture of pine nuts with pistachios. It may not taste the same – but it is a good substitute.
Walnuts are larger than your average almond, pistachio, and cashew nut. This is why crushing the walnuts into tinier pieces after peeling their skin is necessary. The brown walnut skin may taste too bitter for salads and pesto recipes.
After peeling away the skin, crush the walnuts into less-than-half-inch pieces. Another thing you can do is roast them lightly for 2-3 minutes on low heat. The roasting process reduces the bitterness and nuttiness of the flavor of walnuts. But if you prefer the intense flavor of walnuts, skip the roasting process.
Walnuts do not strike the perfect balance between flavor and texture the way pistachios do. They are stronger substitutes for people who love a bit of heat and intensity in their recipes.
But if you’re looking for something milder, this next substitute is the one for you.
Compared to all the previous substitutes, peanuts are the least expensive. But make sure you buy unsalted peanuts for your recipes. I do not recommend salted peanuts for health reasons and they may also ruin the flavor of whatever it is you’re making. Especially pesto! Too much salt is never a good thing.
The reason why a lot of cooks stay away from peanuts is that peanut allergies are very common. If you’re cooking at home and nobody has a peanut allergy, it’s a great and affordable substitute for pine nuts!
Other nuts include macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, and pecan nuts.
There are many seeds at your disposal to use as a substitute for pine nuts. Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds. Most salad recipes finish off with a drizzle of such seeds. I know I do! It adds a dash of flavor, not too strong.
If you’re allergic to nuts, adding seeds to your salad is the perfect healthy tip. It adds that crispiness that mimics the nutty texture of pine nuts. And it’s so nutritious and effortless to use. You don’t have to cook it until you like roasted seeds, they’re mostly added in salads.
7. Edamame Beans
These are green soybeans that you can easily cook and add to your recipes. You can cook edamame beans in a variety of ways. But as a substitute for pine nuts, you’re supposed to roast it or dry it until it’s crunchy. Edamame beans do not have an intense flavor. So they work best as a bean substitute for pine nuts if you do not want to use seeds or nuts.
Pine nuts are small but expensive nuts to buy. Even so, people love their creamy and nutty texture and flavor. You add them in low-carb and high-protein salads. The perfect ingredient to pair with simple spinach, parmesan, and avocado salads.
So if you do not find pine nuts in your area or you simply don’t want to use them in your recipes. Then you can try something that tastes just like pine nuts but isn’t!
If you ask me, this is the best thing that could have happened to you. Because now you have a whole host of delicious and nutritious ingredients to pick from. And some of them I’m sure you didn’t know even know you could use for making pesto sauce, salads, and pasta dishes!