Disclosure: Pistachio Health Institute compensated The Recipe ReDux (co-owned by ReganMillerJones, Inc. and Teaspoon Communications), to sponsor this recipe contest and also provided samples of in-shell pistachios. We are not eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. My thoughts and opinions are my own.
The latest Recipe ReDux sponsored recipe challenge is actually NOT a recipe challenge.
Instead, the fine folks at the Pistachio Health Institute challenged us ReDux bloggers to come up with the most delectable snack by pairing in-shell pistachios with certain food and drink.
This idea was a nice change of pace, not having to worry about exact measurements, oven temperatures, specific recipe directions, etc. To me, the main challenge was how to narrow down all the yummy foods you could pair with pistachios – what to do?
In the end, I came up with this pairing:
In-shell pistachios + fresh ricotta cheese + dried apricots + challah or brioche bread + Prosecco
Let’s break it down:
In-shell pistachios: So, the cool thing about buying pistachios still in their shells is 1) they are fairly easy to find and 2) you have to do a little work for your food which can help keep your noshing in check vs. grabbing a handful of nuts and popping right into your mouth. In fact, two behavioral studies showed if you keep the discarded shells around, they act as a “visual cue” and you probably will consume fewer calories.
And check this out —>A one-ounce serving of pistachios = about 49 nuts, which is more nuts per serving than any other snack nut, and a reduced serving of about 30 pistachios is just about 100 calories.
Fresh ricotta cheese: A few weeks ago for the first time, I made homemade ricotta from this Chicago Tribune recipe (It’s easy to make and oh so good. Just pick up cheesecloth from the household aisle at your grocery store and you’re good to go.) Ricotta is a clean, fresh, slightly sweet cheese so even just the pistachios + ricotta = deliciousness.
Challah bread: Since ricotta is a light, soft cheese I thought Challah, the egg based Jewish braided bread would be a great match and it is. French brioche bread would work too.
Dried apricots: I wanted a fruit from the Mediterranean region but also one that I could get during the winter so dried apricots rose to the top (and this point I’m dipping a bit into North African pairings.)
Prosecco: Both me and the hubs love a glass of the bubbly and we don’t wait for special occasions to drink it. More often than not, we have a bottle chilling in the fridge. Our go-to is Prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine (I usually just get what’s on sale.) As for American versions, my favs are Sofia Blanc de Blancs from Coppola Winery and the Domaine St Michelle sparklers from Chateau Ste Michelle.
You could just serve all these foods on a board and have guests eat any way they’d like but I took this pairing a step further and made pistachio challah toasts. I toasted the challah, spread on ricotta, topped with dried apricots and pistachios, drizzled with honey and sprinkled with fresh thyme leaves.
And between you and me, I may have also enjoyed this pairing for breakfast the next day with a lovely mimosa.
All this week, ReDuxers will be sharing their creative pistachio pairings in the following categories: Mediterranean, Kid-Friendly, Skinny Nut (Reduced Calorie) and Indulgent in the thumbnail photos below. So get out a dish for the empty shells and try one of these pistachio snack combos or get inspired to come up with your own unique pairing!