Pine nuts are the small and delicate seeds of certain varieties of pine cones. They are subtly flavored with a creamy, slightly sweet taste. Pine nuts are a common ingredient in baked goods such as bread, tarts and cookies, and are a crucial component of pesto sauce. However, there are a few drawbacks to pine nuts, and there are some substitutions that still do the trick without affecting your wallet or your health. Read on to learn about the setbacks pine nuts offer and the alternatives you should choose.
Pine nuts can be hard to find, as they are brought over from Korea and China and the high demand can lead to a shortage in American supermarkets. The low supply of pine nuts also leads to an increased cost, with one pound of pine nuts running about $20.
Pine nuts can also lead to a disorder known as "pine mouth." This is when the consumption of pine nuts can lead to a disturbance in your taste, leaving everything bitter or metallic, for a couple of days or up to two weeks. If you're one who gets affected by pine mouth, it's crucial to look into alternatives to pine nuts.
When you want to make a pesto sauce, but either don't have or don't want to use pine nuts, your choices for substitutions are almost endless. As pine nuts do not have a strong flavor, there are several nuts that can work as alternatives. A few common substitutes include:
If you're just aiming to make a pesto sauce at home, there are even more alternatives that can serve as pine nut substitutes:
Alternatively, if you feel like foregoing pine nut substitutes altogether, Pistou sauce is a great dish to try making. It's a French sauce that follows the same guidelines as a pesto sauce, but without using pine nuts.