Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Passion for Pine Nuts

My recent dinner at a local Mediterranean restaurant confirmed my passion for pine nuts. They served an amazing hummus garnished with a generous amount of toasted pine nuts, a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds and a splash of extra-virgin olive oil. Delicious!

Pine nuts, also called pinon or pignoli nuts, are the edible seeds of varying species of pine trees that grow all over the world, including Asia, the U.S. and Europe. They have been eaten in Europe and Asia since Paleolithic times. These days, pine nuts are an essential ingredient in fresh pesto, and they are also often added to breads, desserts, meats, vegetable and fish dishes. They’re great in combination with, or as a substitute for, other nuts and seeds. They’re naturally mild, buttery and lightly sweet. Once toasted or roasted, they become a little crunchy and really flavorful.

If you enjoy nuts and seeds but haven’t given much time to the pine (nut), now’s a great opportunity to start. If you want to roast your own, simply spread them on a cookie sheet and pop them in the oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes. Or if you prefer, you can toast them stove-top style in a heavy dry skillet over medium-low heat until they release their fragrance and turn a beautiful, rich golden color. A dry cast iron or a stainless steel skillet works well too.

Well known in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes, pine nuts are enjoyed worldwide in all sorts of creative ways. Here are some of my favorite ideas:

Are pine nuts a personal favorite? Got a recipe or a great idea? Let me know.