Exotic nuts

Different kind of nuts and dried fruits on hte wooden table

We are used to almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, hazelnuts … but there are other less widely used nuts that can also be nutritionally interesting and above all can give a variety of flavor, texture and color to preparations if we incorporate them into our kitchen.

  • Beyond the walnut, almond or hazelnut, the range of nuts extends to others with also interesting flavors and properties.
  • Although they are mostly caloric products, if not abused they provide benefits and have even been seen to contribute to weight control.
  • Pistachio, Brazilian coquito or cashew are some of them, and their versatility makes them ideal to taste in sweet and savory preparations.
  • In addition, the MAPFRE Health insurance has at your disposal a wide medical staff of nutrition specialists.


It is a dried fruit native to the Amazon basin, northeast Brazil and southern Venezuela. It is also known by the names cashew or cashew, cashew, cashew, caguil or merey. Like other nuts, it is a caloric product, however, without abusing them, it is considered that the nuts incorporated into the diet regularly and in moderate quantities favor weight control more than being overweight. It is estimated that 100 grams of cashew nuts provide between 500 and 600 Kcal, which comes especially from unsaturated fats. We can also highlight among other nutrients, its content in vitamins of group B , calcium and fiber.

They can be consumed: raw, salted, cooked. They can be part of desserts, starter creams, they can accompany very well meats already sautéed vegetables and we can serve them whole, chopped, crushed … It will give the recipe texture and flavor but since it is not a very strong flavor it can be incorporated to many different dishes.

Sample recipe: Stir-fry chicken, quinoa, bell peppers, broccoli, and cashews.

Pecan nut

Its origin seems to be in the United States, where it is currently produced in addition to Mexico, Africa and Australia, mainly. It is a nut very similar to that of the European walnut but has a more elongated shape and both the shell and the fruit are smoother. Nutritionally, pecan nuts provide us with more than 700Kcal per 100, 70% of its content is fat, however, more than 50% of the fats are monounsaturated where oleic acid predominates (the main component of olive oil). They contain more than 6% fiber and at the micronutrient level they contain potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and phosphorus and vitamins C and A.

They can be consumed: in various pastries and desserts but also in savory dishes, together with meats, it can be part of fillings, give a crisp point to a salad or a vegetable cream, etc. A typical dessert is the well-known pecan pie, but we can also find alternatives to it.

Recipe example: Tartlet stuffed with mató with pecans and a string of honey.


Pistachio is a somewhat curious dried fruit, we can easily distinguish it from the rest by its color and it also has a characteristic flavor. Unlike most nuts of toasted colors, the pistachio is green, a characteristic green that in fact takes its name from its peculiarity. It is a fruit generated by a small tree from Greece, Syria, Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Pakistan and western Afghanistan. It is also known as pistachio or alfóncigo. Pistachios provide about 600Kcal per 100g, a little more than half of its content is fat, it is also a food rich in vitamin E since 100g. of this dried fruit contain 5.20 mg. of vitamin E, it also contains vitamin B6 and B1 and we can highlight its contribution of magnesium, potassium, iron and fiber.

They can be consumed: in addition to the multiple possibilities of pistachio in pastries,
accompanying desserts with chocolate, in cookies, cakes and of course forming part of the famous baklava-style cakes from the Middle East, pistachios accompany all kinds of dishes very well. . They are used a lot to create sauces, possibly the most original is the pistachio pesto. It also goes well with salads, vegetable or fruit creams, meat and fish, to which it gives an original point.

Recipe example: Melon cream with mint, pistachios and black pepper.

Coquito from brazil

Their name indicates it: they come from a tree native to Brazil, although not only, but it is also native to Bolivia, southeast Colombia, Guyana, Peru, east and northeast Argentina and south Venezuela. In fact, the main exporter is Bolivia, where they are known as “Pando chestnuts”, while in Brazil they are called Pará chestnuts. Oleic and linoleic acid stand out in its composition, so its lipid profile is still interesting, although it is true that it is one of the nuts that is richest in saturated fat. In fact, we can see this fact in its unctuousness when we eat it. On the other hand, we can highlight its content in calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium and selenium. In addition, it contains fiber and provides about 700 Kcal per 100 g.

They can be consumed: raw or roasted, with or without skin, salted or natural. They are also used to make cookies, cakes, cakes, ice cream, etc. And in salty they can mainly accompany meat dishes or salads.

Recipe example: Sautéed green beans with turkey, onion, lemon and Brazilian coquitos.

Asian pinion

Pine nuts are the seed of the trees of the Pinus family, some of which produce seeds that are too small to be of commercial interest. While in Europe the pine nuts of the stone pine are collected, which give larger and longer seeds, in Asia they are collected from two species that give rise to shorter and more rounded seeds. Due to their work of harvesting and obtaining the shelled fruit, they are the most expensive dried fruit on the market, especially the European ones dried in the sun. The Asian pine nut is cheaper although it is true that its flavor is not the same, as it is intense and somewhat more watery. The nutritional composition of the Asian pine nut is very similar to the European one, although being more watery, the nutritional density is lower. It is the richest nut in phosphorus and also the most caloric. We should not be alarmed because its lipid profile is interesting as it contains above all unsaturated fatty acids. In addition, we consume them in small quantities. They also provide fiber, potassium, magnesium, folic acid …

They can be consumed: accompanying salads, desserts, meats, fish … and to make sauces, the best known is pesto, traditionally with European pine nuts. Asian pine nuts are most often used in meat stews.

Recipe example: Kafta style lamb meat with rice, yogurt sauce and pine nuts.


Macadamias are shrubs or trees native to Australia, New Caledonia, and Indonesia.
The fruits to which the Australian aborigines refer to the name of kindal or jindilli are a round dried fruit, externally somewhat similar to hazelnut but larger and its fruit is of different consistency and creamier texture. Nowadays they are also known from Queensland nut for the production area. Macadamias provide slightly more than 700Kcal per 100g, which come mainly from monounsaturated fats. They provide fiber, more than 5g per 100g, thiamine and niacin, manganese, magnesium, iron and copper. They also contain plant sterols that contribute to a lower absorption of cholesterol.

They can be consumed: they are marketed as a snack to take raw, roasted, barbecued, caramelized, salted, with a crunchy coating and even with wasabi. But they are also used to make pastries such as cookies, macadamia cream, etc. And meat dishes, fish, salads, etc. are made with them.

Sample recipe: Cabbage, carrot and celery salad with lime, coriander and chopped macadamias.


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