Fresh pistachios are in season and worth the search

4 Recipes
A bowl of pistachio pesto ramen with two chopsticks.
(Leslie Grow / For The Times)

4 recipes for welcoming early fall produce to your table


Pistachio nuts are a fall superstar just coming into season. Once considered a rare delicacy, these little green nutrition bombs are now a mainstream must-have.

Though we call them nuts, botanically they are seeds — each “nut” is the single, large seed of a fruit that looks like a teeny-weeny mango (pistachios and mangos are actually in the same botanical family). Although pistachio nuts are available on grocery shelves year-round, only the female trees bear the fruits (and only every other year) — part of what makes them a little pricey. Pistachios are harvested and available fresh for only a few weeks a year, between September and November.

Get them while they’re fresh now to make lots of great dishes where their richness is the highlight. Knafeh Nabulseyeh, a heralded dessert in the Middle East, is dusted with finely chopped pistachios. The nuts are used whole for pistachio brittle, a riff on the classic peanut brittle. The green of the nuts glows through the semi-translucent caramel. In pistachio pesto ramen, chopped pistachios add a flavor twist to standard pesto — which here is cheese-less, too — and they lend texture to the final dish as well. Chopped pistachios are a wise choice for pistachio-crusted quail, as pistachios stand up to heat better than most nuts and also retain their lovely green color for a nice presentation.


Fresh pistachios are available at select Middle Eastern markets and specialty stores as well as online.

Pistachio Pesto Ramen

This pesto tastes lighter than most because it doesn’t include cheese. A generous portion of roasted and salted pistachios gives the pesto big flavors.
Time20 minutes
YieldsServes 2 to 4

Knafeh Nabulseyeh

Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley's cheese-filled shredded filo pastry is baked until deeply golden, drizzled with orange-blossom simple syrup and sprinkled with finely-chopped pistachios.
YieldsMakes 15 pieces. Serves 6 to 8.

Pistachio-crusted quail

Dredged quail is coated with finely-chopped pistachios, which work better than other nuts as a crust. The quail is pan-seared, finished in the oven, and served with a green-pepper sauce.
Time25 minutes
YieldsServes 8 as an appetizer, 4 as a main course

Pistachio Nut brittle

This take on the familiar nut brittle recipe uses pistachios. The translucent amber of the caramelized sugar is studded with vibrant green nuts, which show reddish skin.
Time45 minutes
YieldsServes 10 to 12 (About 1 pound)