Pistachios are becoming an increasingly popular snack. Not only are they delicious, they provide many vitamins and minerals. One cup dry-roasted pistachios provides approximately 35% DV Potassium, 48% Dietary Fiber, 52% Protein, 13% Calcium, 27% Iron, 70% Vitamin B6 and 33% Magnesium (source).
A member of the cashew family, the pistachio, or Pistacia vera, is grown in various countries around the world and is said to have been first cultivated in Western Asia. Consumed as far back as 6750 BC, the pistachio is a desert plant that can thrive in a wide range of temperatures, though it does not respond well in humid climates or those which provide too much water. Each tree produces approximately 50,000 nuts every two years (source).
Try these green-colored beauties atop some Cinnamon Banana Muffins. If you prefer, pistachios can be replaced with the nut of your choice.
Cinnamon-Banana Muffins with Candied Pistachios
Yields 12 muffins
3/4 cup roasted and shelled pistachios (or different nut of choice)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
4 teaspoons flax meal
8 teaspoons warm water
1/3 cup solid vegetable shortening
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 ripe mashed bananas
1/4 cup regular almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/3 cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350º F. Lightly grease a muffin pan or line with paper/silicone baking cups; set aside.
For the topping, combine the pistachios, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add maple syrup and stir until pistachios are evenly coated; set aside.
For the muffins, combine flax meal and warm water in a small bowl, mix, and set aside, allowing to thicken.
Next, in a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt, and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together shortening and sugar. Add the bananas, almond milk and flax mixture, and mix until combined. Slowly add dry mixture to wet mixture and stir just until combined. Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin pan, topping with pistachio mixture.
Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center of a muffin comes out clean.