If any ingredient proves that small can be mighty, it’s the pine nut. The edible seeds of some pine tree species, largely harvested in places with a Mediterranean climate, pine nuts pack a ton of flavor into a tiny, richly textured seed, and have health benefits, too. They can also be a flavor chameleon, a main ingredient in desserts like tarts, cookies, and brittles as well as savory dishes, too. One of the best ways to use pine nuts is in the starter course, by mixing them into dips for crudité, frying into finger foods, or pairing with beef in empanada fillings. While, of course, you know them as an essential ingredient in
authentic pesto, we also love them as a topping for vegetable side dishes, salads, and grains.
Toasting pine nuts before using them brings out a more robust flavor, and browns and fortifies the nut to add a crispier, crunchier texture.
Syrup-Soaked Pastries with Hazelnuts, Pistachios, and Pine Nuts (Deblah)
Cauliflower Shawarma Berber
The chef of
Lucky Leek in Berlin, Germany, Josita Hartanto makes her minestrone with hearty kohlrabi and briny green olives. The soup is brightened by a fresh pesto, which is stirred in just before serving. Get the recipe for Green Minestrone with Kohlrabi, Olives, and Spinach Pesto »
Deep-fried and then drenched in a honey syrup,
yak kwa are a traditional Korean sweet flavored with sesame oil and fresh ginger juice. Get the recipe for Ginger Cookies Dipped in Honey (Yak Kwa) »
When making their beloved pesto, Ligurians use sweet, delicate basil Genovese and remove any green sprouts from the center of the garlic cloves to avoid bitterness.
Get the recipe for Pesto Genovese
Sirio Maccioni, the well-known restaurateur of
Le Cirque fame, has been acknowledged for creating this dish. Get the recipe for Pasta Primavera »
Kimberly Hasselbrink, the writer and photographer behind
The Year in Food, tuned us into this great recipe for pine nuts in a crunchy, salty, rosemary-scented brittle. Get the recipe for Pine Nut Brittle »
These chewy almond meringue cookies, speckled with pine nuts, are a favorite holiday cookie of SAVEUR managing editor Greg Ferro.
Get the recipe for Pine Nut Cookies »
Tahini’s nutty, luxurious properties don’t stop at hummus. Keep the sesame paste flowing with this bright red purée of boiled beets, lemon, and garlic.
Get the recipe for Tahini-Beet Dip »
These spiced croquettes are a classic Middle Eastern snack.
Get the recipe for Lamb and Bulgur Wheat Croquettes (Kibbeh) »
Farfalle with Cavolo Nero Pesto
Broccoli Rabe with Pine Nuts & Golden Raisins
Tender, braised beef brisket is combined with raisins, sherry, pine nuts, and spicy chile powder in the fragrant filling for sugar-dusted, savory-sweet empanadas.
Get the recipe for Beef Brisket and Picadillo-Stuffed Empanadas »
Raisins add a subtle sweetness to this salad from Enoteca l’Alchimista in Montefalco, Italy.
Arugula, Pecorino, Pine Nut, and Pear Salad (Rucola con Pecorino, Pignoli e Pere) »
See the Recipe
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At Portland, Oregon’s
Måurice restaurant, pastry chef Kristen Murray layers sponge cake with buttercream and white chocolate ganache, and garnishes the torte with honeyed pineapple slices and candied pine nuts.
This revelatory dessert of pomegranate seeds and nuts is adapted from a recipe that appears in the now out-of-print cookbook
. Seductive Flavours of the Levant Ger the recipe for Pomegranate with Nuts and Orange Flower Syrup (Khosaf al-Rumman) »
This recipe is based on one that Sandro Manzo, an Italian art dealer who now lives in New York, learned from his mother during his youth in southern Italy.
Get the recipe for Ragù alla Napoletana »
Super easy and fresh, this is a perfect dish for spring, but also translates well to outdoor cooking in the summer.
Get the recipe for Charred Asparagus and Egg Salad »
In this representative Sicilian dish, which seamlessly combines Arab and Sicilian flavors, pasta is tossed with sardines from the Mediterranean, raisins and pine nuts grown in the mountains, and a dash of saffron, which imbues the pasta with a golden color. Look for small sardines, which are sweeter and more delicate than larger ones.
Get the recipe for Linguine with Sardines, Raisins, and Pine Nuts (Pasta con le Sarde) »
Crispy pancetta, peppery arugula, and sweet sautéed shallots give a fall spin to panzanella.
Get the recipe for Autumn Panzanella Salad »
These one-bite hors d’oeuvres are inspired by the ingredients of a classic Middle Eastern baba ganoush; they can be served either cool or hot out of the oven.
Get the recipe for Roasted Eggplant with Goat Cheese Tahini and Pine Nuts »
Federal Hill, the Italian-American corridor of Providence, Rhode Island, is home to some amazing dishes, including this one.
Get the recipe for Spinach with Pine Nuts and Raisins »
This dish is based on one that appears in the Japanese-language cookbook
Saisai Gohan by Yumiko Kanou (Shibata-Shoten, 2004), the chef and owner of Nakaiseki Sen, a vegetarian restaurant in Tokyo. Get the recipe for Japanese-Style Fried Brown Rice »
Sun-dried tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, and a splash of champagne vinegar add a bright punch to a simple side dish of steamed broccoli.
Get the recipe for Steamed Broccoli with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pine Nuts »
The pasta squares called mandilli de saea, Genoese for “silk handkerchiefs” (for their size and thinness), are large, paper-thin egg-dough sheets that drape beautifully in the bowl, almost always dressed with pesto. The result is a kind of purity of pasta–certainly less complex than some other Genoese dishes, but with an elegance and grace not ordinarily associated with a plate of noodles. Like other Genoese set pieces, it seems wonderfully anachronistic–deliciously edible link with a fabled past.
Get the recipe for Silk Handkerchiefs with Pesto »
Christmas Morning Sausage Patties
Grilled Corn with Pesto
When Amity’s Myron Redford and Vikki Wetle need to keep pickers in the fields, they have Peirano cater this soul-warming dish.
Get the recipe for Dungeness Crab and Pine Nut Lasagne »
With a sweet eggy crust filled with swiss chard, golden raisins, pine nuts, apple, and a custardy sweet rum sauce, this unusual pastry is a typically Niçoise treat.
Get the recipe for Swiss Chard Pastry »
Savory and sweet, this rustic Mediterranean nut-and-raisin sauce is a staple on the Italian island of Ischia, off the coast of Naples, where it is traditionally tossed with pasta during Lent.
Get the recipe for Foriana Sauce »
The gooey filling in this tart is held together by a rye flour crust that gets its structure, and depth, from chocolate.
Get the recipe for Honey-Nut Tart with Chocolate Rye Crust »
A tangle of fried mushrooms provides textural contrast and a savory boost to this silky hummus.
Italy’s other ubiquitous green sauce is flavored with parsley and thickened with bread crumbs. Seasoned with vinegar and anchovies, it’s bold enough to stand up to grilled meats.
See the recipe for Salsa Verde »