Often found as an aperitif, pistachios can also sublimate many recipes with their delicate flavor and this pretty green color. These nuts are also excellent for health, pistachios contain more than one benefit!
The pistachio has a very good nutritional profile:
- protein (22%) – which is interesting for athletes and vegetarians;
- fiber (10%) – important for the proper functioning of the transit and gut microbiota ;
- vitamins of group B – necessary for the good nervous balance ;
- antioxidants – lutein which gives it its beautiful green color, resveratrol which can be seen in the parma color of its thin film, beta carotene, Vitamin E… A perfect ally to fight free radicals and protect cells from aging.
“A small handful (30g) in snack is beneficial, because fiber and protein are particularly satiating. Without abusing it either, because it is also rich in fat“, says Brigitte Mercier-Fichaux, dietitian-nutritionist.
How to choose pistachios?
Iran remains the main producing country, but huge fields of pistachio trees have been planted in California. In Europe, Italy, Greece and Spain also produce it. The most famous, the “pistacchio verde di Bronte” from Sicily, benefits from a protected designation of origin. “It is important to choose it unsalted and ungrilled to take advantage of its advantages. It is also better to take it organic, it is also found sold in bulk in organic stores“, advise the dietician.
For baking, shelled pistachios are practical. But as a snack, we will prefer the shelled version: it takes longer to eat them and the sight of empty shells limits the desire to take more!
- Whole : we choose it ungrilled and unsalted. It is perfect as a snack, but also as an aperitif (instead of the traditional roasted and salted peanuts) with vegetable sticks.
- Crushed : it’s super practical for sprinkling it directly on your plate or on your cakes. On the other hand, we pay quite a lot for not having to shell and crush it.…
- Dough : this pastry chef’s delight is quite expensive too. It slips into macaroons, financiers, cookies, panna cotta, pie crusts… small effect assured with the guests!
- Oil : rare, it offers a beautiful emerald color and a flavor that gives pep to salads. Also try with strawberries. Like olive oil, it is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids.
How to use pistachio in cooking?
In the kitchen, it is sprinkled on raw vegetables, tajines, curries… ” For dessert, it is really delicious with raspberries and chocolate. It can be mixed to replace almond powder in recipes », says the specialist. It brings a pretty color to cakes, madeleines, financiers… But don’t expect the flashy green of industrial pistachio ice creams and pastries: these contain dyes.
With raspberry : the tangy flavor of this little fruit blends perfectly with the sweetness of the pistachio. Very light, the raspberry is rich in fiber as well as in ellagic acid with antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Out of season, frozen raspberries are used. In practice : like pastry cooks, they are combined on a shortcrust pastry base, or in a soft cake in which part of the flour is replaced by mixed pistachios.
With dark chocolate : for desserts that are both gourmet and healthy, you can count on pistachios and chocolate rich in cocoa (at least 70%). Because all the benefits of chocolate come from cocoa: magnesium, anti-stress; flavonoids, antioxidants; theobromine, stimulating… In practice : for a more nutritionally interesting chocolate cake, take dark chocolate, lower the amount of sugar and add coarsely chopped pistachios.
With dried apricots : Nuts go well with dried fruit. The pistachio makes a pair with the apricot, another fruit of the Mediterranean sun. This has a record content of beta carotene, a valuable antioxidant for the skin and eyes, as well as potassium, an alkalizing agent. In practice : for a healthy and gourmet snack, bite into 2 dried apricots (organic, to avoid preservatives) with about ten plain pistachios.
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