Could there be a better snack than pistachios? A classic cocktail nut, these shelled wonders are full of nutrients and taste amazing. Native to Western Asia, pistachios are actually fruits with the green nut being the edible part we enjoy as a snack. Pistachios have grown to be so popular that there is even a National Pistachio Day. These nuts are most often seen in ice cream or in a trail mix, however your options for using this nut go far beyond these. Enriched with vitamin E, a low caloric content, iron, copper, and B vitamins, you can’t go wrong with pistachios. They offer a vast amount of fat soluble vitamins, and whether used sweet or savory, can be added into unexpected dishes.

Put that cocktail bowl aside and try one of these easy and creative ways to use more pistachios in your dishes!

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Crusts 

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For those with a dairy and gluten intolerance, nut-based crusts are an amazing alternative to flour, eggs or milk typically found in crusts. With creamy flavors and a crunchy texture, pistachios make unbelievable crusts for plant-based foods. Nut (or seed)-based crusts are typically raw which fit perfectly in line with a raw food diet. Try this Coconut Lime Cream Pie that uses pistachios in the crust to make a pie perfect for summer.

Similar to walnuts or pecans, pistachios can also be incorporated into breadings. Tofu, seitan, or tempeh can be encased in a pistachio crust, for example. These proteins can be pan seared, baked, or even grilled. Make Pistachio Crusted Tofu With Prickly Pear Sauce which combines a pistachio crust with crispy tofu and subtly sweet pears for a refreshing and light meal. For an appetizer or sharing plate, try using this Raw Vegan Creamy Cheese and adding chopped pistachios to the outside.

 

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Mini Desserts

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Like many nuts, pistachios offer a salty flavor to compliment sweet tastes. To switch up your typical nut game of peanuts or almonds, try sprinkling crushed pistachios on mini baked goods. These Orange Poppy Seed Muffins or this Spelt, Mango and Coconut Banana Bread would benefit in nutrition and taste with the sprinkling of crushed pistachios on top. Pistachios could be added to ice cream, oatmeal, or pudding for a greener look and a more delicious bite. Don’t forget a timeless classic — chocolate chip cookies! Add some pistachios to these Sea Salt and Carob Chip Cookies and your taste buds will be eternally thankful.

 

Sauces 

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Get saucy and try adding pistachios in your sauces. Pesto is a prime sauce to incorporate pistachios into if you need a suggestion; instead of walnuts or pine nuts, use pistachios instead. Combined with fresh basil and olive oil, pistachios will give your pesto a unique and mild flavor. This Vegan Pear Strudel uses a pistachio pesto to make the dish economic and delectable. Since pistachios are a slightly softer nut, they make purées simple to make. For a different and fun way to use these nuts, blend them in a plant-based cheese sauce. Combined with cashews, pistachios would offer a Parmesan-like flavor to this Spicy Vegan Cheese Sauce, and could be used on pastas or steamed vegetables.

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Lunches

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With so many health benefits, pistachios make an awesome mid-day snack. But it’s easy enough to munch on these nuts by themselves, so try adding them to your lunches for a more well-balanced meal. With some satisfying crunch, they are great salad toppers. Try this Summer Watermelon Salad with pistachios on top, or for a super protein boost, this Freekeh Salad offers flavors of cucumber, pistachios and mint. For a unique way to use pistachios in your lunchbox, try adding some chopped ones into a nut butter sandwich or in this Vegan Chik’n Salad. And to satisfy that midday hunger, use pistachios as a mix n’ match ingredient for your next batch of healthy trail mix.

 

Small Snack Bites

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Pistachios can offer sweet, salty or savory flavors to foods. With their mild taste, this nut is extremely adaptable. For a quick energy-booster try using pistachios in your smaller snack bites. Making balls, bars or bark are fun ways to get your sweet craving and hunger satisfied. Pistachio and Matcha Truffles are a great natural energy booster thanks to the matcha green tea that offers a milder dose of caffeine than coffee. For another sweet treat, try this Raw Chocolate Bark with Pistachios and Edible Flowers. With coconut oil, almond butter, and pistachios, this bark is a duel snack and superfood dessert. If chocolate isn’t your thing, opt for making these Pistachio Sesame Seeds Balls. Paleo, vegan, gluten-free and raw these balls are super easy to make and will leave your body feeling invigorated.

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With healthy fats, protein and fiber, and tons of heart-healthy vitamins, pistachios are an awesome nut to incorporate into a plant-based diet. These nuts can replace most other nuts in sweet or savory dishes, making these easy to use in dishes. A snack, dessert, lunch or treat- you can’t go wrong with pistachios! We would love to hear what you think, do you have a favorite way to use pistachios?

Lead Image Source: Vegan Pear Strudel With Pistachio Pesto