« Market to Pantry #2: Ernie's Harvest Time, Lynn, Massachusetts | Main | Rolled oats (Recipe: nectarine and white peach crisp) »

Pine nuts (Recipe: zucchini with golden raisins, pine nuts and lemon)

Zucchini with golden raisins, pine nuts and lemon 

In the beginning, pesto turned me on to pine nuts.

Believe it or not, I'd never heard of pine nuts, didn't know what they look like, and didn't even know that they're not really nuts at all.

Every time I made a batch of pesto, I bought the smallest container of pine nuts I could find (turns out they're in the produce section of every market). I used the whole amount, a few ounces or so depending on how much basil came out of my herb garden, and I never gave pine nuts another thought until it was time to make pesto again.

In the spirit of The Perfect Pantry, where we learn more about the ingredients we have on hand with recipes (more than one recipe!) for how to use those ingredients, I decided it was time to do a bit more with pine nuts. And guess what? They're delicious in all sorts of savory and sweet dishes. And because they are seeds and not nuts, many people with nut allergies can enjoy recipes that contain pine nuts.

Who knew?

What are pine nuts?
The edible seeds of pine trees, specifically Mexican pinon (Pinus cembroides), the Colorado pinion (P. edulis), the Italian stone pine (P. pinea), and the Chinese nut pine (P. koraiensis).

How/where to store:
In the refrigerator for one month, or in the freezer for up to six months, to keep the natural oils in pine nuts from turning rancid.

More facts about pine nuts, and ingredient photos, in The Perfect Pantry:
Pine nuts (Recipe: toasted piñon shortbread)

Zucchini with golden raisins, pine nuts and lemon

Zucchini with golden raisins, pine nuts and lemon {vegan, gluten-free}

Adapted slightly from Good Tempered Food by Tamasin Day-Lewis, this side dish tastes delicious hot, room temperature, or cold, making it perfect for summer picnics and potlucks as well as roast chicken dinners in cooler weather. You'll enjoy the contrast of sweet raisins, crunchy pine nuts, and the tang of lemon. Serves 4; can be doubled.


3 medium zucchini
1 Tbsp olive oil
A handful of golden raisins
A handful of pine nuts
1 large clove garlic, minced
Juice of half a lemon, or more to taste
Sea salt, to taste
Fresh black pepper, to taste


Slice the zucchini into 1/8-inch rounds (by hand or with a mandoline). Heat the oil in a large nonstick frying pan, and add the zucchini. Cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until the zucchini are becoming slightly translucent and just starting to brown. Add the raisins and pine nuts, and the garlic. Stir, and let cook for 2-3 minutes. When the pine nuts are just starting to brown, add the lemon juice and season to taste with sea salt and pepper.

Reduce heat to low, and cook 1 minute more, to allow the flavors to combine. Serve hot, at room temperature, or cold.

More pine nuts:
Penne with roasted red pepper pesto, from The Perfect Pantry
Spaghetti with basil pesto, tomato and olives, from The Perfect Pantry
Spice bulgur pilaf with pine nuts and currants, from Cookin' Canuck
Baked white fish with pine nut, parmesan, and basil pesto crust, from Kalyn's Kitchen

Zucchini with golden raisins, pine nuts and lemon makes a perfect side dish for roast chicken or turkey. #vegan #glutenfree

Need more creative ideas for using zucchini? Get 23 Zucchini, my e-book packed with fantastic recipes, full-color photos and a few fun videos. With the FREE Kindle Reading app, delicious zucchini recipes will always be just one click away on any computer, tablet or smart phone. Click here to learn more.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


im going to give this a whirl.....thanks

This week I made pesto pasta with pine nuts and my college age son took it to work to eat. He called me to ask me what those "beans" were mixed in with the pasta!

Deb Doubek

That's a simple and delicious looking side dish Lydia.

Thanks for reminding me I had some homemade pesto in the freezer - I literally just got up and got it out!
and now I will also use pine nuts in something besides pesto!

Pine nuts make good garnishes for many salads and pastas, not only with pesto, as you suggest. I also had a recipe for pine-nut "bread" which is essentially like cranberry bread or walnut bread -- only with toasted pine nuts.

Looks delicious. The raisins are an interesting addition to this.

Perfect I just bought a few zucchini and was looking for something new to do with it.

And here I thought I was burnt out on zucchini. Thank you for restoring my faith in the vegetable. Your recipe is so good that I actually want to eat it. Again. For the millionth time this summer.

Well, I have plenty of zucchini, but no pine nuts to make this lovely recipe. Ah, well - perhaps next week?

Pine Nuts are so expensive here in middle America, that I cannot justify purchasing them. I do love them though.

Milton, hope you like it.

Deb, that's cute!

Joan, it's quick and easy, and the raisins and lemon are a nice foil for the zucchini.

Carol, isn't a treat to find some pesto in the freezer?

Mae, I love the sound of a pine nut bread. I'm going to look for a recipe.

Kalyn, raisins add sweetness to balance the lemon juice. I'm a huge fan of raisins, and I'd happily put them into most anything.

Food Hunter, PunkRizz, TW: isn't it nice to have one more zucchini recipe in the repertoire?

Barb, I'm so sorry you can't find affordable pine nuts. I don't know where you are, but if there's a Trader Joe's or Costco around, they both have great prices on pine nuts. You can certainly make this dish without the pine nuts, too, or try substituting almonds.

Thanks for the link! This zucchini recipe sounds delicious. Spinach with raisins and pine nuts happens to be one of my favorite things, and I can imagine it's wonderful with zucchini too. I will be making this for sure!

Cara, spinach, raisins and pine nuts is a great combination. In fact, my friend Peter who guest blogs here from time to time posted a recipe for a spinach, raisin and pine nut tart. You can find it with the search box at the top of this page.

I wish I could buy pine nuts here in Toronto that I could afford.
They were at Costco for years but not anymore. Someone said
you can replace pine nuts with hazel nuts in a recipe so I'm going
to try that. I love your recipes. Thanks!

I used to love pine nuts - and in a way I still do. But I can tell you one thing: if you bite into a rancid pine nut, it will take time to get over it

the amazing thing is that I had mine in the freezer, and they still went horribly rancid. I am now almost over that experience, which is definitely good news! :-)

I didn't know pine nuts are considered seeds. My husband has a strong nut allergy, including pine nuts. He can eat sunflower seeds and sesame seeds without problem, so it isn't all seeds. I advise if you are feeding a guest with a known nut allergy, you let them know about pine nuts present in the food.

Made this for supper tonight. It was soooo good!I only had dark raisins. Would never have thought to put this combination together. Now I want to try it with spinach like other readers have suggested. Thanks for the info about pine nuts.

I love pine nuts, but never seem to use them all up before they go off. This sounds like a nice way to utilize their buttery flavour.

Barb, hazelnuts would be interesting in this recipe, or pecans, maybe.

Sally, I wonder if the nuts weren't very fresh when you put them in the freezer. That usually keeps them fresh.

Maggie, you're absolutely correct to be cautious. I always ask guests about allergies and food aversions, and I seldom serve anything with nuts or seeds unless I'm 100% positive that all of my guests can eat them.

Helen, thanks so much for reporting! I'm delighted that you liked the recipe.

Laura, try freezing leftover pine nuts. It works for me.

I love this unique recipe! I have some leftover pine nuts in my freezer begging to be used in more than just pesto!

I love the inclusion of raisins in this recipe. That extra little bit of sweetness sounds delicious!

I made this as the side dish to a grilled london broil. My guests insisted that I log in right now to tell you how delicious this dish is! many thanks for sharing the recipe

now back to washing dishes and pinot noir haha

This sounds delicious and will be the perfect thing to make with the zucchini in my fridge right now from last week's CSA pick up. Pine nuts are delicious raw, but I think it's well worth taking the time to toast them so that the flavors deepen.

My favorite way to eat pine nuts right now is sprinkled over a salad of lightly steamed kale, red pepper, red onion, and black olive. A little olive oil, lemon juice, salt and a good handful of toasted pine nuts take it over the top!

I'm going to try this with sliced almonds, as I am out of pine nuts (and trying to whittle down my pantry since we're moving in 2011). It looks delicious; love the components separately! It's great to know that this is a dish for all seasons!

Do you have a post/roundup of marinara sauce ideas? We have several jars that need to be used ASAP. Thanks!

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.