Pecans are having a moment. They’re no longer simply the star ingredient of pecan pie.

Gourmet food aficionados around the world have noticed their taste and versatility, and are now embracing the tree nut in their culinary creations. The result is fantastic dishes, and the creation of new food trends.

This piqued our curiosity (not to mention our taste buds), so we set out to learn more about pecans as a gourmet ingredient. Here’s what we found out.

The Taste of Pecans

Pecans are initially a bit of a surprise. On the outside, they have a slightly bitter taste, but inside the fleshier part lies sweet, buttery deliciousness. This is because the nut is full of fat (the good kind), as well as many other nutrients.

Along with a crispy texture, pecans can crumble, kind of like a cookie. Toasting them makes them even crunchier, and draws out their natural, nutty flavor.

Pecan Pairings

Peanut butter and jam. Peas and carrots. Bacon and eggs. Pecans and just about everything! The nut pairs well with many fruits and vegetables, and grains and legumes you’ll find in your pantry.

For instance, make a salad featuring red onions, roasted carrots, mint, fennel, and pecans. Or serve a roasted root vegetable salad that includes toasted pecans. For a different kind of dish, grill up some peaches, and add goat cheese, a Dijon vinaigrette, and our favorite nut.

When lunchtime rolls around, you can dig into a vegan quinoa pecan bowl, or savor roasted pecan butternut squash soup.

Want a nutritious and portable snack? Create a trail mix with pecans (either raw or toasted) and add dried fruits, such as dates, apricots, cherries, cranberries, pineapple, and coconut.

Pecan Trends in The Culinary World

Pecans are popular in baked goods, such as pies, bars, and sandies. Now they’re making their way into savory dishes, like rice, soups, and noodles, all around the globe.

Countries are incorporating the nut into their particular cuisine. In Europe, France is serving up pecan goat cheese crostini, while in Germany you can start your day with pecan honey granola.

Pecan teriyaki chicken, and pecan soba noodles, may be on the menu in Japan, while in Thailand pecan coconut rice pudding is whetting appetites.

Over in South America, you can enjoy pecans in creamy corn or potato soup, and in meat empanadas.

Pecans haven’t bypassed fusion cuisine, either. Popular dishes include pecan-crusted tofu, and pecan-crusted salmon sushi roll. And move over pine nuts, because pecans have replaced you in pecan pesto pasta.

Other fusion dishes include pecan coconut curry, which marries Indian and Caribbean flavors, and pecan kimchi fried rice, which is Korean-inspired.

Lastly, “glocal” cuisine, which is all about local flavors and ingredients while incorporating global influences, is also leveraging pecans.

Some “glocal” dishes include pecan and gochujang roasted Brussels sprouts, where the spicy flavors of Korean cuisine meet the vegetable’s earthy flavor. Pecan and za’atar crusted halibut, meanwhile, blends the delicate flavor of halibut with the bold flavors of Middle Eastern cuisine.

Pecans as A Gourmet Ingredient

Pecans’ taste and meaty texture are the perfect accompaniment to many foods, which opens up the possibility of hundreds of gourmet dishes. Their versatility also makes many dishes possible.

So feel free to experiment with pecans. Throw them in a recipe and see how it turns out, and how you like it. Luckily, pecans are widely available, which is arguably why cuisines around the world are incorporating them into their meals.

Invest in Pecans With Georgia Pecan Nursery

Now that you’ve learned everything about pecans and what makes them gourmet in the culinary world, you may be feeling inspired to cook something up yourself.

Make the pecans in your dishes stand out even more, by using nuts from your very own pecan tree. Trust us — nothing is more gourmet (or fresh) than homegrown pecans. Visit Georgia Pecan Nursery to pick out your tree.