Creative Ways to Use Pistachios in Cooking

Thursday, June 22nd, 2023

Pistachios aren’t just for snacking! Discover a variety of creative and delicious ways to use pistachios in cooking and baking, such as in pesto, salad dressings, desserts, and more.


Pistachios can add a delightful crunch and a unique flavor to a wide range of dishes. Here are some creative ways to use pistachios in cooking and baking:


Pistachio Pesto: Replace traditional pine nuts with pistachios in your favorite pesto recipe. Blend together pistachios, fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Toss the pesto with pasta, spread it on sandwiches, or use it as a dip.




Pistachio-Crusted Chicken or Fish: Create a flavorful crust for chicken or fish by coating them in crushed pistachios. Dip the protein in egg wash, then press crushed pistachios onto the surface. Bake or pan-fry until cooked through and the crust is golden.


Pistachio Salad Dressing: Make a creamy and nutty salad dressing by blending together pistachios, olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper. Drizzle it over mixed greens, roasted vegetables, or grilled chicken.


Pistachio-Crusted Goat Cheese: Roll goat cheese balls in crushed pistachios and serve them as an appetizer or salad topping. You can also bake the coated goat cheese until it turns golden and serve it with crostini or crackers.


Pistachio-Crusted Rack of Lamb: For an elegant main course, coat a rack of lamb with crushed pistachios mixed with herbs like rosemary and thyme. Roast the rack until cooked to your desired doneness, and the pistachio crust forms a crispy exterior.


Pistachio Energy Bites: Blend together dates, pistachios, shredded coconut, and a pinch of salt in a food processor. Roll the mixture into bite-sized balls and refrigerate until firm. These make for a delicious and nutritious snack.


Pistachio Baklava: Put a twist on the classic Middle Eastern dessert by adding chopped pistachios to the traditional layers of phyllo pastry, honey syrup, and spices. Bake until golden and crispy, then drizzle with more honey syrup.


Pistachio Crumble: Create a delightful topping for fruit crisps or pies by mixing together crushed pistachios, oats, brown sugar, butter, and a touch of cinnamon. Sprinkle the crumble over your fruit filling and bake until bubbly and golden.


Pistachio Ice Cream: Make a rich and creamy pistachio ice cream by blending pistachios, milk, cream, sugar, and a hint of almond extract. Churn the mixture in an ice cream maker, and enjoy the nutty goodness.


Pistachio-Encrusted Chocolate Truffles: Roll homemade chocolate truffles in crushed pistachios for an added crunch and flavor. These make for a decadent treat or a delightful homemade gift. See the Heart of the Desert Pinterest page for a white chocolate truffle recipe as well. 


Remember to experiment and have fun with these ideas, adjusting the quantities and flavors to suit your taste preferences. Pistachios can bring a unique twist to both savory and sweet dishes, allowing you to explore new culinary possibilities. Check out our Pinterest page for examples of these recipes plus a whole bunch more. 


Happy cooking and eating!






Heart of the Desert is a working pistachio ranch and vineyard with four retail establishments in New Mexico. They are best known for their farm-fresh pistachios and Award-Winning New Mexico wines. Each store offers wine and pistachio tastings. They offer worldwide shipping and produce attractive gourmet baskets that make great corporate and family gifts. The main store, on the ranch in Alamogordo, offers farm tours that showcase how pistachios are grown and processed, as well as a stunning Tuscany-themed patio that overlooks the groves and is available for weddings, private parties, or enjoying a relaxing glass of wine.