Pistachio Power

American Pistachios Growers (APG) hosts Cook Along with  Chef Amanda Freitag & Mixologist Charlotte Voisey

Adding a dash of taste and health to the festivities, American Pistachio Growers (APG) hosted a virtual Cook-along with celebrated American Chef Amanda Freitag as she prepared delectable dishes using California grown pistachios. She was joined by award winning mixologist and TV personality Charlotte Voisey who stirred up a few original cocktails with a pistachio twist! The event was hosted by famous Hollywood personality Billy Harris and was joined by food lovers and media personalities from across the country.

Amanda Freitag
PHOTO CREDITS- Ken Goodman Photography ( IG @kengoodmanphoto )

Speaking on the occasion, celebrated chef and author Amanda Freitag remarked, “I am truly delighted and excited to use California grown pistachios in my recipes as they are tasty, nutritious and crunchy. They enhance the taste, flavor and give me a huge opportunity to innovate and decorate the dishes. Today I cooked and demonstrated two unique dishes — Beet Salad Pistachio Vinaigrette and Lamb Meatballs Pistachio Pesto which have come out very flavourful, tasty and are wholesome. Pistachio is a super food and I am all for it for its nutrition and taste.”

PHOTO CREDITS- Ken Goodman Photography ( IG @kengoodmanphoto )

Charlotte Voisey whipped up a lovely Raspberry Pistachio Collins drink. This innovative use of California grown pistachios, truly vowed the Indian food enthusiasts who had tuned in.

Speaking on the occasion Judy Hirigoyen, Vice President, Global Marketing of APG said, “We are happy to see that India is a growing market for American pistachios. The volume of American pistachio exports to India is growing steadily as more Indian consumers are getting aware of the health benefits of these amazing nuts. American grown pistachios with its nutrient dense properties is a robust nutritional package in itself – a powerhouse of protein, antioxidants, essential amino acids, fiber, vitamin and potassium etc.

In fact only recently, American pistachios were declared as a Complete Protein which implies that these pistachios will have the same benefits that one would typically find from animal protein sources. American pistachios are also great for diabetics and pre-diabetics.”

The session was also addressed by Kable Munger, one of the largest growers and processors of pistachios in California. The Munger family like many others migrated to the US from India many decades ago. He mentioned that today many people of Indian origin are involved in the growing of pistachios in California and he is happy to see the robust demand for these healthy nuts in the land of his forefathers. “This unique connection between India and the US is only going to strengthen, Mr. Munger remarked.”

Commenting on the session, Sumit Saran, India Representative of American Pistachio Growers said that “India does not produce any Pistachios. Traditionally pistachios in India were only used for garnishing but we now see more and more consumers look towards American pistachios as a healthy, anytime guilt free snack. People are always looking at plant-based protein sources and American pistachios fit right in, he added.”

About American Pistachio Growers:

American Pistachio Growers (APG) is a non-profit trade association representing over 800 grower members in California, Arizona, and New Mexico. APG is governed by a democratically elected board of directors who are growers and is funded entirely by growers and independent processors with the shared goal of increasing global awareness of nutritious, American-grown pistachios.


By Chef Amanda Freitag

Serves 2


Beet Salad

2 large beets
1 cup Mascarpone cheese
1 bunch watercress
½ cup pistachios (for toasting):
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Pistachio vinaigrette

½ cup pistachios
½ cup red wine vinegar
1 shallot, diced
A pinch of salt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper


Beet Salad

  1. Cut the beets into a julienne (thin matchsticks) for the salad, reserving the rougher trimmings for the
  2. Cook and chop the pistachios (see below)
  3. Rinse and dry the watercress
  4. Peel and thinly slice the shallots


  1. Blend the pistachios in a food processor with a pinch of salt until they form a smooth paste
    resembling peanut butter.
  2. Combine vinegar, pistachio butter, shallot, olive oil, salt and pepper. Adjust consistency with water
    and season to taste.

Toasted Pistachios

  1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF
  2. Spread the chopped pistachios onto a sheet pan and season with the sugar and kosher salt.
  3. Toast for 3-4 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant.
  4. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  5. In a mixing bowl, toss the julienned beets with the toasted pistachios and two or three tablespoons of the vinaigrette.
  6. Allow this mixture to sit for 5 minutes before adding the watercress.
  7. With the watercress added, toss the salad one more time to coat the watercress in the dressing.
  8. Spread a layer of mascarpone cheese in the center of each salad plate.
  9. Top with the beet salad.
    Julienne is a French cooking term that simply refers to cutting a vegetable into thin matchsticks as opposed to a dice.


By Mixologist Charlotte Voisey


1 ½ oz Hendrick’s Gin
¾ oz Pistachio cordial*
½ oz fresh lemon juice
4 fresh raspberries
2 oz soda water


Muddle (gently mash) raspberries then combine ingredients in cocktail shaker (except soda water)
Add ice and shake well
Strain over fresh ice in a tall glass
Top with soda water
Garnish with a slice of cucumber

Pistachio Cordial – Instructions (makes 8 oz)

  1. Combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a pan. Bring to a low simmer and stir for a few minutes until
    sugar has fully dissolved.
  2. In a blender place ½ cup unsalted, roasted pistachios and add the sugar water
  3. (Optional – add 1 drop of rosewater)
  4. Blend for 30 seconds and allow to sit for 2 minutes
  5. Strain out solids and collect cordial
  6. Keep refrigerated until ready to use


Cocktail shaker


By Chef Amanda Freitag

Serves 6-8 portions


1 pound lamb meat
1 cup Japanese breadcrumbs
¾ cup milk
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp shallot, chopped fine
1 tbsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh mint
1 egg
½ cup pecorino cheese grated.

Pistachio Pesto

1 cup pistachios
2 cloves garlic
¾ cup olive oil
½ cup mint leaves
1 cup basil leaves
1 cup yogurt
Salt and pepper


In a large bowl, combine the panko and milk, Let stand for 10 minutes, then add the lamb, shallots, garlic,
mint, pecorino, egg and salt and pepper. Use your hands to mix and incorporate well. Make a tester patty to
taste for seasoning. Simply sear a small amount of the meat, taste it and adjust the seasoning before you
make the meatballs. Roll the meatball mix into small (1-2 ounce) meatballs and line up on a sheet pan until
they are all formed. In a large sauté pan over high heat, heat enough olive oil to thoroughly coat the entire
bottom of the pan. Sear the meatballs, browning them evenly all around. Let cook until done in the center.


Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until combined but still coarse.
Season yogurt with salt and pepper
Dollop yogurt onto a plate, place meatballs on top of yogurt, top with pistachio pesto. Garnish with some
chopped pistachios and mint and basil leaves

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