The pistachio is versatile; it’s the flavor of popular ice cream and desserts, and it can serve as the perfect salty topping. Home chefs are used to enlisting pistachios in their desserts, but many are unaware the nuts perform well in savory dishes, too. It’s high time we highlight the goodness that is the green nut. Here are 6 recipes that enlist the pistachio that is lower in calories than other nuts on the market, while also high in fiber, vitamins, and protein.
1. Broccoli & Pistachio Soup
First up is a soul-warming soup from Love and Lemons that gets you your greens, along with your vitamins and nutrients thanks to broccoli and the salty pistachio nut. Broccoli & Pistachio Soup is a healthy twist on the traditional Cream of Broccoli offering, and it can easily be made to be dairy-free and vegan. Sub in coconut milk for the dairy ingredient, and get ready to serve this to even your pickiest guests. Don’t forget your cornstarch if you want an extra thick soup.
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter or oil
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2-3 cups of broccoli florets
- ¼ cup pistachios, toasted
- 2 to 3 cups water or broth
- ¼ cup milk of your choice (coconut milk for dairy-free)
- splash of white wine (or white wine vinegar)
- 2 teaspoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- red pepper flakes, optional
Directions: Heat butter or oil in a medium saucepan. Add chopped shallots, garlic, and a pinch of salt, and cook until shallots are translucent. Add a splash of white wine to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Add broccoli florets, and cook for a minute or two, until they’re bright green but not cooked through. Add pistachios and stock, and cook for a few minutes more.
Transfer to a blender and puree the mixture. Taste as you go and add more salt, pepper, milk, and a touch of arrowroot if you would like it thicker. Add more stock if it’s too thick. If it’s too bitter, add a splash of white wine vinegar or a touch of sugar.
Put the blended mixture back into the saucepan and simmer for a few more minutes and continue to taste and adjust.
2. Pasta with Pistachio Pesto
This Pasta with Pistachio Pesto from Epicurious is the perfect comfort food for the long winter season. We always love our pesto, but combining shades of green and pairing pistachios and basil together yield a match made in foodie heaven, and that savory topping goes great on top of your pasta of choice. Next time you’re craving spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, take your cravings up a notch and instead serve this carby dish that is packed with flavor and nutrients.
- 1½ cups unsalted, shelled roasted natural pistachios
- 1 cup chopped tomato
- 2 cloves garlic
- a handful of fresh mint leaves
- a handful of Parmesan, freshly grated
- a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- a pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (or more)
- 1 pound freshly cooked pasta
Directions: Pulse 1½ cups unsalted, shelled roasted natural pistachios, 1 cup chopped tomato, 2 garlic cloves, a handful of fresh mint leaves, a handful of grated Parmesan, a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper in a food processor until a coarse purée forms. Transfer to a bowl; stir in 2 tablespoons olive oil to form a thick, chunky sauce. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Toss 1 cup pesto with 1 pound freshly cooked pasta, adding pasta cooking liquid by the tablespoonful to form a glossy sauce. Chill remaining pesto to spread on sandwiches.
3. Pistachio Shortbread
Next up is a dessert recipe from Bon Appètit — because it still maintains its savoriness, we’re including it on this list. This Pistachio Shortbread is the key to feeding your sweet tooth while still maintaining a certain degree of sophistication. Requiring 6 ingredients, this recipe enlists a full cup of unsalted pistachios, and yields 32 stylish cookies. Leave it to Bon Appetit to teach us how to best take advantage of the versatile nut.
- 1 cup unsalted, shelled raw pistachios (about 4 ½ ounces)
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 stick chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions: Pulse pistachios in a food processor until finely ground but not a paste, about 30 seconds. Add flour, sugar, butter, salt, and vanilla; pulse until mixture is the consistency of cornmeal. With machine running, drizzle in 2 tablespoons ice water. Transfer dough to a sheet of parchment paper and pat into a rectangle. Top with another sheet of parchment and roll out to a 12 by 8-inch rectangle. Transfer dough to a baking sheet and chill until firm, about 1 hour.
Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove top sheet of parchment paper from dough and discard. Cut dough lengthwise into 8 equal strips, then each strip crosswise into quarters, forming 32 rectangles. Place rectangles on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Bake shortbread until golden brown, rotating sheets halfway through, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool.
4. Pistachio Crusted Chicken
Pistachio Crusted Chicken is often a dish you find served in restaurants, but little do you know it can easily come out of your kitchen, too. Follow this easy formula from All Recipes and see how well you can master the dish. Aside from the pistachios, we can almost guarantee you have all the ingredients in your pantry, so get to crushing your nuts so you can prepare your very own restaurant-style dinner.
- 1 cup chopped pistachios
- ½ cup bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 large skinless, boneless chicken breast
halves, cut into 1-inch strips
Directions: Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Mix together pistachios and bread crumbs in a shallow bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together Dijon mustard, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper until smooth. Dip chicken into Dijon mixture to coat, then coat with bread crumbs. Place onto prepared baking sheet.
Place into preheated oven and turn the oven down to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake until the chicken is no longer pink and the pistachio coating is golden brown, about 20 minutes.
5. Sicilian-Inspired Blood Orange Salad
We mentioned earlier that pistachios make a great topping, and this salad from The Kitchn proves it. In this Sicilian-Inspired Blood Orange Salad, the sweetness of blood oranges get cut with the saltiness of pistachios that are also paired with mint. It may sound like a puzzling combination, but trust us when we say the salad’s fixings complement each other perfectly, and before you know it, you have a new favorite salad on your hands you actually enjoy eating.
- 3 Cara Cara oranges, cut into segments
- 6 blood oranges, cut into segments
- ¼ of a large red onion, cut as thinly as possible
- 1 bunch of mint, julienned and a few leaves torn
- ½ cup sheep’s milk feta
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- ⅓ cup pistachios, lightly crushed
- salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Assemble all the citrus segments in a large bowl and mix in onions. Set aside.
In a small skillet, heat the olive oil on medium-high. Add the cumin seeds and cook until the cumin seeds pop slightly and a lovely fragrance emits from the pan. Add vinegar to the pan and swirl to mix. Season with salt and pepper and toss all over the citrus. Mix in pistachios. When plating, add mint and pistachios to the tops of each portion.
6. Toasted Pistachio-Cheese Arancini
Lastly, Toasted Pistachio-Cheese Arancini from Food & Wine. This recipe is not for the faint of heart, but if you have a taste for fried risotto balls and some time to hole up in the kitchen this winter, we encourage you to give this decadent dish a shot. Arancini, or fried risotto balls, are rich and indulgent, and perfect for the month of January when bikini season is still a long ways away. Eat away the mid-winter blues with this sophisticated dinner and save the light meals for summer.
- 2½ tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1 ½ cups arborio rice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- Pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth, warmed
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- ½ tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, finely diced
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped salted pistachios
- 2 tablespoons frozen baby peas, thawed
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 ½ cups panko
- Vegetable oil, for frying
Directions: In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, 7 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until well coated with butter. Add the white wine and saffron, season with salt and black pepper and cook, stirring, until the wine is absorbed, 2 minutes. Add the warm chicken stock 1/2 cup at a time and cook, stirring constantly between additions, until it is absorbed. The risotto is done when the rice is al dente, 25 minutes total. Stir in the grated cheese, transfer to a bowl and let cool.
Melt the remaining ½ tablespoon of butter in a small saucepan. Add the 1/2 tablespoon of flour and whisk constantly over moderate heat for 1 minute. Add the milk and cook, whisking, until thickened. Season with the nutmeg, salt and black pepper and transfer to a bowl to cool completely. Stir in the mozzarella, pistachios and peas.
Line a large baking sheet with wax paper. Put the eggs, panko, and flour for dusting in 3 shallow bowls. Using lightly moistened hands, shape the rice mixture into 16 equal balls. Working with one ball at a time, make an indentation in the center with your finger and press the sides to make the hollow larger. Spoon a scant tablespoon of the pistachio filling into the hollow and press the risotto around the filling to enclose it. Transfer the ball to the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining risotto and filling. Dust the arancini with flour, tapping off the excess. Coat them with the egg and roll in the panko.
In a large, deep skillet, heat 1 inch of vegetable oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Fry the arancini over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until golden and heated through, 8 minutes. Drain the arancini on paper towels and serve hot.