Pine nuts are incredibly popular for dishes such as pesto, or other pasta sauces. They really add a lovely depth of flavor to any recipe they are included in.
The main issue with pine nuts though is that they can get quite expensive. Some people also suffer from Pine Mouth (aka Pine Nut Syndrome) which causes you to taste pine nuts for days after you’ve eaten them.
This is why some people would prefer to use something else in the place of pine nuts. In this article, we will be looking at 5 substitutes that work really well if you do not want to use the real thing.
If you are making something of the pesto variety, then pistachios are the best substitute for pine nuts.
They actually give the whole sauce a sweeter taste and because pistachios are green, they also give it that authentic pesto color.
If you find the pistachios to be too sweet, you can add a bit of salt or even parsley to counteract the sweetness. This is a great substitute for pine nuts, especially if you’re making something pesto based.
2. Macadamia Nuts
Another great option is macadamia nuts, but if you are after something cheaper than pine nuts, this might not be the best option. Macadamia nuts can get quite expensive.
Macadamia nuts are a bit stronger than pine nuts, so you do not have to use that many of them. They are a rich and creamy type of nut that works well in a lot of sweet and savory dishes.
They pair beautifully with things like mint and parsley, so they are quite versatile in what dishes they can be used.
Cashews are probably the closest replacement nut you’re going to get to pine nuts.
It should be noted though that cashew is also quite expensive, if you buy them in their nut pieces variety rather than whole, this will save you a bit of money.
Cashews work in a variety of different dishes and if you want to add a bit of extra flavor, you can buy the honey-roasted variety.
This will stray from the pine nut taste a bit, but it is in your best interest to experiment and see what works best for you!
They also work really well with raisins and lemons if you want to add even more flavor to your dish.
4. Pumpkin Seeds
You may not have even considered pumpkin seeds as an initial option, but you’d be surprised how well they actually work as a substitute for pine nuts!
Lots of recipes you are going to come across that need pine nuts are likely to offer pumpkin seeds as a replacement.
Pumpkin seeds are actually a great source of protein and they have lots of minerals in them. If you have a nut allergy as well, they can be really helpful in that sense too!
While you can eat pumpkin seeds raw, you are definitely going to want to try them roasted. When they are roasted they are absolutely delicious!
They take roughly 40 mins to roast in the oven, but the extra time is definitely worth it!
5. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are another great option for anyone who has a nut allergy. They emulate the crunch of nuts without actually containing any nuts in them.
Sunflower seeds work particularly well in dishes like salads and side dishes, and they even work in a lot of sauces.
The only real issue with sunflower seeds is that they can color your dish a bit gray. Whereas pesto is usually green, the inclusion of sunflower seeds is likely to offset the green color and replace it with a grayish tone.
Whether you suffer from Pine Mouth, nut allergies, or pine nuts are just too expensive, there are plenty of substitute ingredients out there that will still make your dish taste good.
Just because you can use pine nuts, that does not mean you have to miss out on your favorite dishes! Try some of these substitutes out today and see which one works best for you.
You may even find that you enjoy these substitutes more than the real thing!