When you think of the holidays, a handful of flavors likely come to mind: peppermint, eggnog, cinnamon, cocoa and the like. But one is consistently forgotten: chestnut. The Nat King Cole classic reminds you of its existence every year, but have you ever actually eaten one? They may be crisp and bitter when raw, but once they’re roasted, they’re sweet, buttery, soft and tender. Not only can chestnuts be eaten whole or tossed in sweet and savory dishes, but they can also be transformed into sweet chestnut flour, a gluten-free substitute that works in a wide range of baked goods. Without further ado, here are 21 chestnut recipes to enjoy throughout the holiday season (or on any old weeknight).
21 Chestnut Recipes That Demand a Spot on Your Holiday Table
1. Sweet Rice With Chestnuts And Chinese Sausage
If you haven’t tried Chinese stuffing before, you’re in for a treat. This version is smoky, savory and sweet all at once. You could also substitute tofu gan (that’s dried, seasoned tofu) for a vegetarian spin.
2. Onion Tarte Tatin With Chestnuts And Cranberries
Eat your heart out, green bean casserole. Your guests will be infinitely more excited to see this caramelized beauty on the table.
3. Butternut Squash And Turkey Lasagna With Chestnut Pasta
Proof that you should always have chestnut flour in your pantry. The béchamel is thickened with sweet rice flour to keep the lasagna gluten-free.
4. Salted Coffee Butter Roasted Chestnuts
Peanuts could never. Douse them in the vanilla-spiked butter and serve them warm with cinnamon lattes or homemade eggnog.
5. Creamy Mushroom-chestnut Bisque
Don’t let its decadent appearance fool you—this soul-warmer is totally dairy-free. Finish each bowl with a mound of crispy fried shiitakes and thyme sprigs.
6. Chestnut Cranberry Blondies
The recipe for these chestnut flour-based handhelds calls for pecans, but we’d up the holiday ante by substituting chopped roasted chestnuts instead.
7. Chocolate Nut Cereal
Mini meringues and chocolate chips are definitely worth getting out of bed for.
8. Cheesy Apple Farro Cakes
Chopped chestnuts offer crunch to these wholesome-yet-snackable patties. Use Golden Delicious apples or another sweet, honey-like type, like Northern Spy, Gravenstein or Honeycrisp apples.
9. Chestnut Gnocchi With Robiola Bosina Cheese Sauce
Robiola Bosina is a buttery, earthy type of cheese made from both cow and sheep milks. If you can’t find any near you, substitute Taleggio, Reblochon or Explorateur.
10. Chestnut Stuffing
11. Chestnut, Mushroom And Butternut Squash Baked Risotto
Our favorite thing about this risotto (besides the butternut squash, obvi)? It comes together in the oven, so you won’t have to stir it at the stove all night long.
12. Galbi Jjim
These Korean braised short ribs are plain divine. Sweet, savory and braised with a mélange of vegetables, they’re traditionally topped with jujubes, ginko nuts, pine nuts and chestnuts.
13. Rosemary Roasted Vegetables
The nuts are the sole crunchy element in this side dish, so feel free to go wild with chestnuts, hazelnuts, almonds or walnuts.
14. Fennel And Fresh Herb Stuffing With Chestnuts And Apricots
Usually, holiday stuffing calls on dried cranberries for a pop of sweetness, but this one uses dried apricots instead. (Oh, and the recipe calls for a whole cup of leftover mashed potatoes.)
15. Hazelnut Chestnut Crepes With Brie And Burnt Honey
Even your picky kids might get down with this breakfast masterpiece. (We’re guessing the torched honey drizzle will be their favorite part.)
16. Ginger Fig Tart With Chestnut-almond Crust
17. Baci Di Dama
Aka lady kisses. Not only are these teeny-tiny Italian cookies adorable, but they’re filled with melted dark chocolate to boot.
18. Chestnut Cream Eclairs And Profiteroles
The pâte à choux is light as air. The semisweet chocolate ganache is luscious. But the real star here is the vanilla-chestnut filling spiked with instant coffee.
19. Snickerdoodle, Chocolate Chip And Candied Chestnut Blondies
Don’t look now, but we’re making a second batch of honeyed chestnuts exclusively for snacking…
20. Maple Chestnut Pudding Chômeurs
You’ll be so glad you added this Quebecois treat to your repertoire (especially once you taste the brown butter-coffee maple sauce).
21. Chocolate Chestnut Cocktail
Bourbon + coffee liqueur + chestnut syrup = the makings of a *killer* Christmas nightcap. Might we suggest reserving some syrup for your next hot chocolate?