Pistachio Pesto

Pistachio Pesto

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Pistachio Pesto
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I know you guys all know about regular pesto (basil pesto or pesto all Genovese – and you can find the recipe here) and maybe even Sicilian pesto (I wrote a blog post about it here). But, I bet not as many of you have heard about Pistachio Pesto.

Aaaand let me tell you – I never get as many positive comments about the other pesto’s as I do about this one! I recently held a Sicilian cooking class and we made a batch of this…the people at the class couldn’t get enough of this!!!

Why Do People Like Pistachio Pesto More Than Others?
  • it’s more simple (less ingredients).
  • it doesn’t have parmigiano so the herb flavours shine more brightly (some recipes I have found online have parmigiano like this one)
  • pistachios are really good for you…they’re lower in fat and higher in protein (6 g per serving) than most nuts.
  • it’s not too garlicky (which is sometimes a put-off to some) like other pesto’s.
Pistachio Pesto

What Can You Do With Pistachio Pesto?
  • pasta (obviously)
  • you can slather it on a sandwich (like this one I have with grilled veggies – you really have to try it!!).
  • spread it on top of your pizza dough before adding toppings.
  • drizzle it on top of a caprese salad or even a pasta salad
  • slather it on top of salmon before you bake it.
  • fill a boneless chicken thigh with it, roll it up and then bake it.
  • add oil and vinegar to make a dressing
  • add sour cream and make a dip

What You’ll Need:

  • shelled pistachios: I like using the unsalted but if you can only find salted, adjust your salt.
  • herbs: This is the best part of the recipe because you can change it how you like. Sometimes (when I have it), I’ll add some fresh mint – it really livens the flavour profile. You can change up the ratio however you like!
  • garlic: if you have some toum ( a Lebanese garlic paste – you can find the recipe here), then I’d say you can surely use that!! I find it’s good because it incorporates better than garlic cloves.
  • olive oil: of course, extra virgin olive oil is always the best!!!
  • lemon: this isn’t called for in many of the recipes but I think it reminds me of all the citrus in Sicily and it really brightens the flavours of the herbs.
  • salt and pepper: if find this is a problem with many homemade pesto’s. People don’t season them enough. If you’re not sure, just taste it at the end (you should always taste your food while you’re prepping it anyway – rule of thumb for cooking!!)
  • anything else: other add-ins could be some grated cheese (as I said above – it’s not common in Sicily but you can add it if you like…if you’re vegan you can add nutritional yeast instead although it’s not the same flavour), hot pepper flakes or any other flavourings (I love to add in some olive paste or sun-dried tomatoes for fun!!).

How Will You Store it?

  • you can keep it in the fridge as long as you keep a small amount of oil on top to preserve it.
  • you can freeze it in an ice cube tray for up to 6 months and pop out as many cubes as you like whenever you need it!!
Pistachio Pesto
Pistachio Pesto
Pistachio Pesto

However you chose to change up this recipe (if you want to change it at all, that is!!), it will always be super yummy! This makes a great hostess gift – especially because many people haven’t tried this variety of pesto and they will thank you for gifting this to them!! And, as you’ve seen above, it is so versatile and can be used in so many ways and in so many recipes! So please give this one a try…you will thank me later!!

Pistachio Pesto

Pistachio Pesto

This simple basil pistachio pesto recipe is easy to make in the blender or food processor, and loaded up with the best fresh flavors.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Course sauce
Cuisine Italian
Servings 12


  • 2 cups shelled pistachios
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups basil leaves washed and dried
  • 2 cups parsley leaves washed and dried
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium lemon about 1/3 cup
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper


  • In the bowl of a food processor, process the pistachios and garlic for about 30 seconds (just to break them up a bit)
  • Add in the basil and parsley leaves and process again (for about 1-2 minutes or until the nuts, garlic and herbs come together).
  • With the motor running, stream the olive oil through the feed tube slowly until it's all incorporated.
  • Remove the top of the food processor and scrape down the sides. Add in the lemon juice and salt/pepper and then process again to make sure all the ingredients are mixed well.
  • Pour into a container and keep refrigerated for 2-3 weeks (can also be frozen for up to 6 months) – *see notes below


You can add a bit or grated Parmigiano Reggiano if you like. Some recipes for pistachio pesto add this but, it’s my feeling that it was added when the recipe was adapted here in North America (in Sicily, where this recipe originated, they don’t use Parmigiano that often).
You can halve this recipe if you like.
You can freeze this in ice cube trays to make portioning easier.
If you are keeping it in the fridge, make sure you pour extra oil on the top to ensure it doesn’t spoil.