Pine Nut Salad

Pine Nut Salad

This is our family “go-to” salad. My parents have been serving this salad at all major holidays for as long as I can remember. As a child, one of my fondest kitchen memories was helping mom destalk the romaine. I felt like it was such an essential part of the success of the salad. I’ve served this at many dinner parties and I haven’t found a guest who hasn’t liked it. The bold garlic flavor combined with the gentle sweetness of the pine nuts makes this salad a year-round crowd pleaser.

The original recipe was sent to my parents in a mailer from The Wine and Cheese Place in St. Louis at least 20 years ago. Les, the owner of the store, credited Gary and Judy Studer with the contribution of this recipe to the mailer.


5-6 garlic cloves, peeled

½ teaspoon Kosher salt

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

4 tablespoons white wine vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

2 large heads of romaine, washed, destalked, and torn into bite size pieces

Freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup + freshly grated Parmesan

¼ cup + pine nuts


First, toast the pine nuts. Spread the pine nuts on a baking sheet, and place under the boiler until golden brown. Watch very closely, once they begin to brown they can quickly turn to charcoal and you risk burning the kitchen down. Another method is to place the pine nuts in a small sauté pan on low heat and cook on the stovetop until golden brown. Set aside.

In small saucepan of boiling water, boil the garlic for 10 minutes. Drain well. In a large wooden salad bowl, mash the garlic to a paste with the salt.

Whisk in the mustard and the vinegar. Add the oil in a stream, whisking until emulsified.

Add the romaine. Toss the salad well to combine and season to taste with pepper. Add the Parmesan and pine nuts, and toss again.

Be sure to taste the salad before you serve. If it needs more zing, add a bit more vinegar. If it’s too tart for your liking, add more olive oil.

Serve the salad with extra pine nuts and Parmesan available.

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Comments (6)

  • Abig Smith 6 years ago Reply

    yum!! always love a good “reed family classic.” thanks for sharing, chefs!

    today i roasted some broccoli and sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper…and i threw in some sunflower seeds, only because i saw them in the pantry. i found they tasted like pine nuts! i love those little pignoles, but they are so expensive!…i may have discovered an alternative if i want to make this salad and i’m on a budget 🙂

    The Newlywed Chefs 6 years ago Reply

    That’s a great idea, Abby! We’ve found that the way to go with pine nuts is to buy them in bulk. They are way cheaper! Check out Whole Foods…

  • Candace 6 years ago Reply

    I love pine nuts. This salad looks delicious!

    The Newlywed Chefs 6 years ago Reply

    Thanks, Candace! Glad you stopped by!

  • Linda 6 years ago Reply

    This salad is much more fun to make when you have an eager, young destalker by your side!

    The Newlywed Chefs 6 years ago Reply

    I learned from the best 🙂

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