Mixed Nuts | Add Texture and Flavor to Your Dishes

Nut VarietiesThe Just Catering guide to nuts 

Adding nuts to a dish adds texture and flavor. Here we profile some nuts (e.g., pine nuts, pistachio nuts, almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, peanuts) that can distinguish any dish. Their composition includes protein, carbohydrate, and fat. Nuts add a much-needed crunch for texture.

  • Almonds—You can almonds raw or roasted, whole, slivered, or sliced. These nuts are versatile ingredients originally from the Middle East. They’re used in salads and many international cuisines, such as French cuisine (like Sole Almondine or Haricot Verts Almondine), desserts, sauces, and more. Almonds are also the source for almond butter, almond oil, almond milk, and almond extract.
  • Brazil nuts—These so-called nuts are actually the seed of the Brazil nut tree, mostly in Bolivia. They are large and have a coconut-like texture. They contain an antioxidant called selenium. You can eat them raw or roasted. They’re used for snacks and dessert.
  • Cashews—Cashews are immediately identifiable by their curved shape. They have less fat than most other nuts. You’ll see them in snack mixes but also in Asian cuisines. They contain iron, zinc, and magnesium.
  • Chestnuts—Hot roasted chesnuts are classic treats from September to January. Pick them up from a street vendor in a paper cone. Use them in soups and that favorite stuffing. But you can also use chestnuts with pasta, sauces, and dressings. Just remember chestnuts are high in starch and sugar.
  • Hazelnuts—Hazelnuts pair well with chocolate, which is why chocolate manufacturers and the makers of Nutella use them. But aside from use in desserts and spreads, hazelnuts are also used for nut butter and also for snacks. They offer rich flavor and texture and contain folate.
  • Macadamia nuts—These nuts conjure up images of Hawaii. Macadamia nuts are used in both sweet and savory dishes and pair well with chocolate, coconut, and fish. They have the highest fat content among all nuts, which is probably why they make for great ice cream.
  • Peanuts—Peanuts are actually legumes and not nuts at all. You can buy them whole in the shell, or shelled. Eat them raw or roasted. They’re popular in Asian cuisine, including Pad Thai. Like nuts, they add texture and flavor. Of course, a popular application of peanuts is peanut butter, eaten on its own, or enjoyed in both sweet and savory dishes.
  • Pecans—Pecans have a buttery, almost bittersweet flavor. They’re popular in pies or to top desserts. You can also buy them roasted with cinnamon (remember those street vendors when you’re traveling!).
  • Pine nuts—Pine nuts, pignoli, pignon nuts, or Indian nuts, these nuts have several names. They’ve been the staple of native nations of the Great Basin and plateau for centuries. They’re also popular in Italian cuisine, especially in pesto.
  • Pistachios—Pistachios can be used when crushed to coat chicken or pork chops. They are also used for desserts, including cakes and ice cream. Try them as a substitute for pecans and pine nuts. Pistachios are antioxidants and contain vitamin B6 and potassium.
  • Walnuts—Walnuts are enjoyed on their own as snacks. Purchased in the shell or shelled, whole or crushed, they add great texture to salads, pasta, and stir-fries. You can always tell them by their ridged shape. Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids.