Substitute for pine nuts in pesto

Substitute for Pine Nuts
Substitute for Pine Nuts

These are arguably the best and fanciest amongst the nuts. This factor probably has something to do with its high cost. Purchasing sufficient pine nuts for your consumption may be very costly. It is easy for this price to scare you away. Also, it has a metallic taste which tends to persist in the mouth of the eater for days even weeks. However, these reasons should not scare you from using the ingredient. This post gives you some of the best alternatives to this precious nut in preparation of pesto.

1. Almonds

Pine nuts are a fundamental ingredient in the preparation of pesto. Other than their taste, they are preferred for their ability to go well with any flavour. Almond, on the other hand, comes with a different taste which has its signature on. Other than this feature, almond can be an excellent alternative for pine nuts in pesto.

2. Walnuts

Walnuts are naturally very bitter. You can remove this bitterness by roasting and removing the skin. You can use them chopped, in powder or crushed. This universality makes walnuts a reasonable consideration for pine nuts alternative.

3. Peanuts

Peanuts are cheap. This should make things easier. Howe4ver, they have to be used in the unsalted state, or they have to be roasted in honey to be able to add some attractive flavor in pesto. They are, however, not used much because of some allergic concerns among the users.

4. Pistachios

The closest and the best substitute of pine nuts in pesto sauce is pistachio. These nuts are sweet; besides, they enhance the green color giving it a good look. The taste in the sauce can further be accentuated by adding parsley to balance it off.

5. Pecan nuts

These can be used as walnuts. However, they are better tasting; giving them an edge over walnuts. Aside from substituting pine nuts in pesto, they can also be used as alternatives in other kinds of foods, including desserts.

6. Macadamia nuts

Macadamia nuts have a much better experience in pesto sauce than pine nuts. The difference is that macadamia nuts are more expensive than pine seeds. They provide a milky medium in the sauce which wonderfully incorporates with parsley and mint to give a heavenly feeling.

7. Sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds are a good option if you have problems with nuts. It also enhances the color of your food such that your expected green color will be transformed.

8. Cashew nuts

These nuts are a close alternative to pine nuts. However, they are also expensive as macadamia. They are roasted to enhance the taste and flavor.

Summary Table

Item Calories Total Fats Carbohydrates Proteins Source Works Best In
Almonds 576 kcal 49.93g 21.55g 21.15g Nuts Snacks, baking
Walnuts 654 kcal 65.21g 13.71g 14.70g Nuts Baking, salads
Peanuts 567 kcal 49.24g 16.13g 25.80g Nuts Snacks, cooking
Pistachios 562 kcal 45.97g 27.97g 20.60g Nuts Snacks, desserts
Pecan Nuts 691 kcal 71.97g 13.86g 9.17g Nuts Pies, baking
Macadamia Nuts 718 kcal 75.77g 13.82g 7.91g Nuts Candies, snacks
Sunflower Seeds 584 kcal 51.46g 20.00g 20.78g Seeds Snacks, salads
Cashew Nuts 553 kcal 43.85g 30.19g 18.22g Nuts Snacks, cooking


What is the best substitute for pine nuts?

The best substitute for pine nuts in terms of flavor and texture is toasted walnuts. They provide a similar nutty taste and slightly crunchy texture that complements dishes like pesto.

How important are pine nuts in pesto?

Pine nuts are a traditional ingredient in pesto and contribute a unique flavor and creamy texture to the sauce. While you can make pesto without pine nuts, their absence might alter the authentic taste and texture of the dish.

What tastes closest to pine nuts?

Toasted almonds or toasted sunflower seeds are often considered the closest in flavor and texture to pine nuts.

Can I use cashew nuts instead of pine nuts in pesto?

Yes, you can use cashew nuts as a substitute for pine nuts in pesto. Cashews have a creamy texture when blended, and while they have a slightly different flavor, they can still create a delicious pesto sauce.

The bottom line

Most of the replacements discussed above are nuts. If for example, you have an allergy with nuts, they you can consider using seeds from the pumpkin, sunflower and sesame. However much you will not be closer to achieving the original pesto taste; it is still worth a try. The prices of these alternatives are equally high. So, you can make purchasing of these nuts or seeds be in parts rather than as a whole pack.

Mei Lin Zhang

Written by Mei Lin Zhang

I love to writes about stories and cooking. I really enjoys creating new recipes and taking pictures of my food. When I am not writing, you can find me in the kitchen or snapping photos of my tasty creations.

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