Food

5 Ways to Celebrate 2019 National Pistachio Day on Keto

Published on: February 22, 2019

5 Ways to Celebrate 2019 National Pistachio Day on Keto

February 26th is National Pistachio Day, aka World Pistachio Day. This is the perfect time to celebrate this ancient nut, which humans have been eating for at least 8,000 years. And what's really great about this nutty holiday is that it encourages you to eat a healthful food.

However, if you're on a keto diet, you're probably wondering if you can partake in this holiday. And the answer is yes. Pistachios are one of the top 10 best keto nuts, as long as you watch your portions. Below, you'll find tips on how to eat pistachios on National Pistachio Day the keto way as well as pistachio facts.


About National Pistachio Day

National Pistachio Day is an unofficial holiday of unknown origin. We really don't know when this holiday was first established and by whom. What we do know is that's it's a good party excuse as well as a good enough reason to munch on some delicious pistachios.

And according to Holiday Insights, a national pistachio organization approached them to see if they could explain why this holiday falls on February. The organization believes that September is a more appropriate time to celebrate pistachios because that's when they are harvested. They also believe pistachios deserve to have an official holiday.

All in all, National/World Pistachio Day is shrouded in mystery. But that doesn't mean you can't acknowledge this day and the wonderful nuts it encourages you to celebrate.


Pistachio Fun Facts

Pistachios have been with us for a very long time and they have some unique properties that set them apart from other nuts. These nuts definitely have quite the story to share:


They grow best in deserts

Pistachios trees desert plants that can grow 30 ft tall and are native to the Middle East and Western Asia. Like many desert plants, pistachio trees are hardy and can even withstand saline soil.


Pistachios are late bloomers

It takes 5-10 years for a pistachio tree to mature and start producing nuts. But once it does, a pistachio tree can bear fruit for up to 200 years.


California and Iran produce most pistachios

California is the biggest producer of pistachios in the US, providing 98% of the country's pistachios. Worldwide, however, Iran is the leading producer and exporter of this ancient nut.


Pistachios have nicknames

In the Middle East, pistachio is called the "smiling nut," while people in China call it the "happy nut". Elsewhere, they're known as the "green almond."


They're mentioned in the Bible

Pistachios are one of the only two nuts mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 43:11). The other ones being almonds.


They're related to cashews

The pistachio plant is a member of the cashew family. It's also related to the mango plant and the spice sumac.


Early explorers relied on them

Their remarkable nutritional value and long shelf life made pistachios an important source of energy for early explorers and traders, including those who traveled across the ancient international trade route that connected the East with the West known as the Silk Road.



5 Ways to Celebrate 2019 National Pistachio Day on Keto_graphic_benefits of eating pistachios

Pistachio Health Benefits

Nuts are high-calorie foods, which gave them a bad reputation. However, newer studies show that eating nuts is actually good for you [1]. Here are some health benefits linked to pistachios specifically.


Quality protein

Compared to other nuts (almonds, walnuts, and pecans), pistachios contain more essential amino acids [2]. They also have a higher percentage of branched-chain amino acids, which are important for muscles.


Nutrient density

Compared to other nuts, pistachios are also quite nutrient dense [2]. They're rich in fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamins A, C, E, K, folate, and other B vitamins.


Increased satiety

Pistachios are rich in fiber and protein, which makes them quite filling. There's also evidence that their polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids help with weight loss [2].


Improved blood lipids

A systematic review of epidemiological studies found that eating pistachios for at last 3 weeks lowers bad (LDL) cholesterol, raises good (HDL) cholesterol [3]. This may likely have to do with the fact that pistachios are rich in phytosterols.


A source of antioxidants

Antioxidants are found in many plant foods, and it seems pistachios are particularly abundant in these compounds [4]. Antioxidants help fight free radicals, reduce inflammation, and lower your risk of chronic diseases.


Can I Eat Pistachio While on Keto?

Yes, you can definitely enjoy pistachios while following a ketogenic diet. Pistachios are relatively low in carbohydrates, moderate in protein, and high in fat. A single serving (30g) will give you around 4.8g of net carbs. The same serving also contains 13g of fat and 6g of protein.

However, it's important to note that other nuts contain fewer carbs per same serving size than pistachios. That's why it's best to consume pistachios moderately, use them as a flavoring ingredient, or rotate them with other nuts.


How to Celebrate National Pistachio Day While on Keto

Measure your pistachio portion size and limit your intake to around a handful on this day. A handful of pistachio kernels is around 30-50g. This serving is approximately 30 pistachio kernels. Another great option is to make sweet and savory meals with pistachios, like the ones you'll see below.


5 Delicious Keto Pistachio Recipes for National Pistachio Day

Here are 5 delicious and easy-to-make keto pistachio recipes, some savory, some sweet. What's most important is that all provide fewer than 7g net carbs per serving. Share these meals with friends and family on National Pistachio Day.


1. Pistachio crusted quail drums

Make this succulent meal for friends and family on World Pistachio Day or add it to your weekly keto meal plan. The combination of mustard powder and pistachios will definitely have everyone wanting more. And if you don't have quail drums, go for chicken instead and bake for 20 minutes more.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Serves: 4


Ingredients:

  • 16 skinless quail drums
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup raw shelled pistachios, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons blanched almond flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 large egg white, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • Cooking spray

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the chopped pistachios, almond flour, and mustard powder
  3. In a different bowl, season the quail drums with salt and pepper.
  4. Beat the egg white with coconut milk until frothy.
  5. Dip the quail drums into the egg whites and coat with the crushed pistachios mixture
  6. Arrange quail drums onto the baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 5 minutes and serve warm.

Nutrition info (per serving)

Calories: 330 kcal; fat: 23.5g; protein: 24.8g; net carbs: 4.7g


pistachio-cheese-balls-with-skewers-served-on-white-spoons

2. Pistachio cheese balls

Cheese and pistachios always pair well as you'll see in this cheese balls recipe. The recipe yields 20 delicious balls, each providing 9g of fat and 6g of protein – perfect for curbing appetite during lunch breaks and midday slumps.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Serves: 20 balls


Ingredients:

  • 10oz. soft goat cheese
  • 2oz. crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 cups raw shelled pistachios, finely chopped

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine goat cheese, blue cheese, thyme, and ½ cup pistachios.
  2. Shape  into 20 balls.
  3. Spread remaining pistachios into a shallow dish.
  4. Roll the balls through the pistachios.
  5. Serve or store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Nutrition info (per serving)

Calories: 121 kcal; fat: 9.7g; protein: 6g; net carbs: 2.3g


3. Pistachio mousse cake

This pistachio-flavored mousse cake is designed to impress. Be warned that making mousse is a delicate and laborious process. If you're already familiar with mousse recipes, then definitely try your hand at this one.

Preparation time: 30 minutes + inactive time

Serves: 8 slices


Ingredients:

  • 6oz. raw shelled pistachios
  • 1 ½ tablespoon gelatin powder
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup powdered erythritol
  • 20 drops liquid stevia
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, sugar-free
  • Raspberries, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. First, make the pistachio paste. Boil pistachios for 1 minute. Drain them and transfer to an ice bath. Let rest for 30 seconds.
  2. Peel the pistachios and dry them on paper towels, ideally overnight.
  3. Once dry, add pistachios to a blender until you get a smooth paste. Place aside.
  4. Combine the gelatin and water in a small bowl. Let absorb for 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, beat the heavy cream in a large mixing bowl until soft peaks form.
  6. Heat the almond milk and pistachio mixture in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  7. Lightly whisk the eat egg yolks with the sweeteners until smooth.
  8. Pour ¼ cup of the almond mixture into the egg yolks and whisk quickly to prevent yolks from cooking. Pour mixture into the remaining almond milk and cook over medium-low heat mixing continuously until thickened.
  9. Stir in the gelatin and vanilla extract.
  10. Let cool completely and fold in the whipped cream.
  11. Line an 8-inch springform with parchment paper and brush with coconut oil. Pour in the mousse mixture and smooth the top.
  12. Refrigerate for 4 hours.
  13. Carefully remove from the springform and cut into slices. Garnish with fresh raspberries.

Nutrition info (per serving)

Calories: 279 kcal; fat: 26.4g; protein: 7.3g; net carbs: 5.6g


home-made-pistachio-ice-cream-in-white-bowl

4. Pistachio ice cream

Fruit and non-dairy ice creams are becoming increasingly popular. This one, made with coconut milk, avocados, and pistachios is a keto favorite, not only because it tastes like real ice cream, but also because it's incredibly nutritious.

Preparation time: 10 minutes + inactive time

Serves: 8


Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups coconut milk
  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted
  • 1 cup raw shelled pistachios
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, sugar-free
  • ½ cup powdered erythritol
  • ¼ cup raw cashews, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.
  2. Transfer into a freezer-friendly container.
  3. Freeze until firm.
  4. Remove the ice cream from the freezer 10 minutes before serving.
  5. Scoop into bowl and sprinkled with pistachios if desired.

Nutrition info (per serving)

Calories: 285 kcal; fat: 25.9g; protein: 5.9g; net carbs: 6.2g


5. Pistachio spread

At first glimpse, it looks like almond spread. But at first bite, everyone will be surprised by the lovely pistachio flavor of this spread. Besides bursting with pistachio goodness, this spread is also quite keto friendly at 32g fat per serving.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Serves: 6


Ingredients:

  • 2 cups pistachios, raw, shelled
  • ½ cup granulated erythritol
  • 5oz. cocoa butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla paste
  • 2oz. unsalted butter
  • 5oz. almond milk

Instructions:

  1. Simmer pistachios in boiling  water for 1 minute or until the skin starts to peel off.
  2. Drain the pistachios and let cool.
  3. Peel the pistachios and rub with paper towels.
  4. Heat oven to 360 F.
  5. Spread the pistachios on a baking sheet and roast for 10-12 minutes or until fragrant.
  6. Meanwhile, combine the cocoa butter, vanilla, butter, and 2oz. of milk in a saucepot.
  7. Melt over medium-high heat.
  8. Blend the pistachios with almond milk until smooth.
  9. Stir the pistachio paste into the saucepot with the remaining ingredients.
  10. Cook on low heat for 6 minutes or until thickened.
  11. Store into jars and serve.

Nutrition info (per serving)

Calories: 340 kcal; fat: 36g; protein: 4.2g; net carbs: 3.8g


Conclusion

If you're a big fan of pistachios, then definitely pay special honor to this popular nut on February 26th. National Pistachio Day may not be recognized as an official holiday. But that doesn't really matter to the true pistachio lover. What matters is that you have another excuse to munch on your favorite nuts or make pistachio-based meals for your friends, family, and, of course, yourself.

References

  1. de Souza RGM et al. Nuts and Human Health Outcomes: A Systematic Review. 2017 December - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5748761/
  2. Hernández-Alonso P, BSc, Bulló M, BSc, PhD, Salas-Salvadó J, MD, PhD. Pistachios for Health: What Do We Know About This Multifaceted Nut? 2016 May - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4890834/
  3. Lippi G, Cervellin G, Mattiuzzi C. More pistachio nuts for improving the blood lipid profile. Systematic review of epidemiological evidence. 2016 May - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27163889
  4. Paterniti I et al. The Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant Potential of Pistachios (Pistacia vera L.) In Vitro and In Vivo. 2017 August - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579708/

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