Celebrating Salads With Pistachios
America’s Top Chefs Share Their Favorite Recipes
(Family Features) Want to add taste, color and crunch to salads any time of the year? Then sprinkle on pistachios. Chefs are going nutty over them, and for good reason. California grown, these pale green nuts have a subtle, delicate flavor that is wonderful in sweet as well as savory dishes or for eating out of hand. Traditionally used in rice dishes, stuffing, ice cream and pastries, pistachios are now a key ingredient in signature salads.
Pistachio Facts & Helpful Tips
The key to including nuts in the diet without adding extra calories is portion control. Use pistachios on salads, or in main dishes, to replace meat or poultry. California pistachios have versatility, texture and great taste. They also pack a powerful nutritional punch. A 1-ounce serving — 49 pistachios — contains more than 10 percent of the Daily Value for dietary fiber, vitamin B-6, thiamin, phosphorus and copper. One serving of pistachios has as much potassium as half a large banana. Pistachios contain mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat (11 of 13 fat grams), the types of fat recommended by the 2005 Dietary Guidelines For Americans. Pistachios also are naturally cholesterol free and trans fat free.
Other Pistachio Facts:
- A serving of pistachios has more fiber (2.9g) than 1 small tomato (1.1g) or 1 cup of raw spinach (.8g).
- A serving of pistachios provides almost 1 1/2 times the amount of thiamin as 1/2 cup serving of cooked, long grain, enriched white rice and 2 1/2 times the amount of thiamin in long grain, brown rice.
- The amount of vitamin B-6 in a 1-ounce serving of pistachios is comparable to that in a standard 3-ounce serving of roasted pork loin, 2 times that in a serving of peanut butter and 5 times that in a serving of black beans.
- Pistachios contain more phytosterols such as beta-sitosterol than any other commonly eaten nut, 61mg per serving or 279mg per 100g. Phytosterols may help lower cholesterol levels, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease. Preliminary research suggests phytosterols also may offer protection from certain types of cancer.
- The largest USDA study of food antioxidants reveals pistachios are one of the best sources of beta-carotene of all tree nuts and peanuts. Pistachios also provide the most lutein and zeaxanthin of all tree nuts. Antioxidants are compounds in foods that may help fight cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease, and help maintain healthy arteries.
To Make Pistachio Oil:
Toast 1 cup pistachio kernels. When cool, finely grind in food processor. In a saucepan, warm 1 1/2 cups olive oil and ground pistachios and stir until blended. Transfer to a jar and let stand overnight at room temperature. Strain. Substitute in place of olive oil to add flavor to any recipe.
Harvest Salad with Caramelized California Pistachios and Green Apples
Chef Andrew Carmellini of A Voce Restaurant in New York celebrates the bounty of the harvest with this delicious — yet simple — salad featuring crisp green apples and caramelized California pistachios.
- 4 cups arugula, picked and washed
- 2 cups watercress, picked and washed
- 1 bulb fennel, sliced in half lengthwise then thinly sliced
- 1 cored green apple, thinly sliced
- 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 4 leaves basil, washed and coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons white raisins, soaked in warm water and drained
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 whole lemons, zested then juiced
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup California pistachios, caramelized
- Combine all ingredients except cheese and breadcrumbs in mixing bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Divide into 6 salad bowls; top with cheese, breadcrumbs and caramelized pistachios (see sidebar for caramelizing). Serve immediately. Serves 6.
Nutritional Analysis (Amount per Serving): Calories 250, Total Fat 16g, Saturated Fat 2.5g, Monounsaturated Fat 10g, Cholesterol less than 5mg, Sodium 610mg, Potassium 530mg, Carbohydrate 27g, Dietary Fiber 5g, Protein 6g
Goat Cheese, Beet Roots and California Pistachio Salad
Executive Chef Pascal LeSeac’h of Pastis, one of New York City’s hottest restaurants, loves serving this simple beet salad featuring California pistachios.
- 5 medium size beet roots
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup California pistachios, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 1 bunch flat parsley (1⁄4 cup chopped)
- 1 log (6 ounces) Montrachet goat cheese
- Salt and white pepper, to taste
- 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Preheat oven: 375°F.
- Clean beet roots with cold water, dry with paper towel, coat with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt. Wrap beets in aluminum foil and place in oven 1 1/2 hours. Check doneness by poking with small knife. Remove and peel beets and slice 1/2-inch thick. Reserve and cool in refrigerator. While beets are cooling, toast pistachios, let cool, then chop.
- Clean and dry parsley, then chop with large chef knife. Slice goat cheese 1/2-inch thick.
- To Serve: Alternate slices of beets and goat cheese on salad plate. Season with salt and white pepper. Add vinegar and remaining olive oil. Garnish with pistachios and chopped parsley. Serves 2.
Nutritional Analysis (Amount per Serving): Calories 380, Total Fat 33g, Saturated Fat 9g, Monounsaturated Fat 19g, Cholesterol 20mg, Sodium 310mg, Potassium 450mg, Carbohydrate 13g, Dietary Fiber 4g, Protein 11g
Spicy Pear and Endive Salad with California Pistachios
Nationally-renowned celebrity chefs and “Too Hot Tamales” Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger offer this scrumptious salad featuring California pistachios from their award-winning Border Grill and Ciudad restaurants.
- 1/2 cup California pistachios, raw and shelled
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 Comice or D’anjou pears, quartered, cored, and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
- 4 heads Belgian endive, cored and sliced lengthwise into strips
- 1/2 to 3⁄4 cup Cabrales blue cheese, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons pickled jalapeños, sliced
- 1/4 cup Honey Chipotle Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
- In small frying pan, combine pistachios, salt, pepper and sugar. Sauté over low to medium heat, stirring and shaking frequently until pistachios are toasted and sugar caramelizes and coats pistachios. Transfer pistachios to non-stick or parchment-lined cookie sheet and allow to cool. In large bowl, combine pears, endive, blue cheese, jalapeños and vinaigrette.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to 4 chilled salad plates and sprinkle with pistachios. Serves 4.
Honey Chipotle Vinaigrette
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 dry chipotle, stemmed and seeded
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons honey, warm
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Combine vinegar and chipotle in small saucepan and bring to boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth and oil is emulsified. Adjust seasonings to taste. Makes 1 cup.
Nutritional Analysis (Amount per Serving): Calories 310, Total Fat 20g, Saturated Fat 5g, Monounsaturated Fat 10g, Cholesterol 15mg, Sodium 640mg, Potassium 500mg, Carbohydrate 30g, Dietary Fiber 6g, Protein 8g
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup California pistachio kernels
- In a medium saucepan, heat sugar with water, salt and cayenne pepper over a high flame. Cook until mixture is soft and bubbling. Add pistachios and stir 2 to 4 minutes, until caramelized (pistachios may clump together). Remove pistachios from pan and lay on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. When pistachios are completely cool, break apart and reserve.
Source: California Pistachio Commission