9 Best Pine Nut Substitutes

Pine nuts are an essential ingredient in dozens of recipes and dishes. You can find pine nuts in salads, pasta, and of course, pine nut pesto. The popularity of this food makes it somewhat likely that you might require a substitute at some point.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the alternatives for pine nuts that actually work.

Cashews

Cashews make the top of the list for pine nut substitutes as they do not taste too dissimilar. In addition, they have a good texture that compares well and is easy to cook with for almost any recipe.

Toast your cashews in a bit of oil on the stove at low heat for 3-5 minutes. Make sure to stir them gently and frequently until they begin to get brown.

Add your toasted cashews into your recipe the same way you would with pine nuts, and enjoy!

Walnuts

Walnuts make a good sub for pine nuts in lots of recipes. For example, you can substitute walnuts for pine nuts for a walnut pesto that tastes amazing.

Walnuts are larger than pine nuts, so you will want to cut them into smaller chunks before using them as a replacement to maintain texture.

If you are using walnuts for a salad, then use them raw, and if you are using them for baking or pesto, you should toast them on the stove in a pre-heated pan for just a couple of minutes to help bring out the best flavor.

The two are not identical in flavor, but these are used in Italian dishes as an alternative because it still tastes so good in the same recipes.

Pistachios

Grab some peeled pistachios and substitute them for pine nuts in salad and pasta dishes. These tender nuts are mild and sweet, and you should avoid using them in baked dishes and pestos.

Pistachios taste great in Meditteranean salads and can be used as a garnish to top the sauces of pasta dishes along with some delicious parmesan.

You don’t need to take any special steps to use pistachios if you have the peeled variety. Otherwise, you’ll need to deshell them before use which can be time-consuming and a little messy. Also, make sure not to get any shell in your food if you remove the shell coverings at home.

Pecans

Pecans can make a good pine nut alternative in some situations, and they work well in terms of flavor in pestos and sauces. Pecan nuts are oilier than pine nuts and can mix well with other flavors so add in small quantities to pestos and sauces and taste as you go. Where pecans don’t work as well are in salads and garnished atop pasta dishes. However, you can use them in baked pasta dishes where they are part of the overall dish.

The flavors of pecan nuts lend themselves well to desserts like cookies, muffins, and ice cream. So be aware that the flavor can throw off the taste of a dish when used in the wrong way.

Pecan nuts need to be chopped up a little before use, but aside from this, you should have no problem placing them right into your dish without any additional steps.

Peanuts

Peanuts are something you can substitute for pine nuts in a few types of dishes. However, since peanuts are more robust in flavor than pine nuts, you might not want to use them in some of the other use cases on this list so far, such as pesto, sauces, or even salads.

You can opt to use peanuts for pestos if you have experience cooking with peanuts and if a peanut pesto sounds like something you would enjoy.

Roasting your peanuts in a little olive oil and mixing them with smoked bacon can be a delicious pasta topping that you might want to use in place of pine nuts.

Be aware that some people have peanut allergies while being okay with other kinds of nuts. So always check before using these when having dinner guests.

Edamame

When it comes to salads and pestos, edamame is a good pine nut substitute. If you’re going for the ready-roasted variety you can pick up in the snack aisles at grocery stores, you should be aware that edamame is best used as a topping instead.

Hazelnuts

The best choice for a simple sub in desserts, hazelnuts are a strongly flavored nut that is best used when blanched since the skin of these nuts is the bitter section. The hazelnut is not ideal for use in salads, pasta, or pestos. So keep it aside as a pine nut alternative for chocolate dessert recipes only!

White beans

White beans have become well-known as a good swap for pine nuts in nut-free sauces and pestos. They’re a good replacement since they offer a similar level of creaminess, without affecting the flavor too much. The main way they do affect the overall dish is they don’t add anything to the flavor as you’d expect pine nuts to do and they also don’t have the crunchy texture. That said white beans are a popular substitute for a reason, it works well for those with nut allergies.

Brazil nuts

Brazil nuts are a popular substitute for pine nuts and many other nuts in dozens of recipes. These nuts are known to be one of the healthiest nuts in the world which has enhanced their popularity as a substitute in recipes.

With a rich and creamy taste, the brazil nut has a meaty texture not too dissimilar to chestnuts. This makes them a great swap for pine nuts in almost any recipe you can think of.

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