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.

Easy Pistachio Pesto Recipe with Basil

It’s fresh basil season!  Which means it’s officially time to make a million batches of fresh pesto, and toss it, scoop it, drizzle it, stir it into All The Things. ♡ ♡ ♡

But hey, instead of adding traditional pine nuts to your pesto this season, try adding in a handful of pistachios instead!

Those irresistible little nuts pair perfectly with the other ingredients in traditional basil pesto, and add an extra hint of sweet, rich flavor that’s certain to have everyone reaching for more.  (Especially when it comes to this pasta salad recipe, which is also new on blog today – check it out!)  And, as with any pesto recipe, this one is quick and easy to make in the food processor or blender, it’s endlessly customizable (and can also be made vegan), it can be used in countless dishes, and it is crazy good.

So grab a handful of pistachios and — I mean, definitely snack on a few, but then save the rest and — let’s make a batch!

How To Make Pesto

Pistachio Pesto Ingredients:

To make this pistachio pesto recipe, you will need:

  • Fresh Basil Leaves: To measure these, lightly pack them down into a measuring cup.
  • Shelled Pistachios: Don’t worry, if yours have shells on them, it’ll only take about 5 minutes to pop them off
  • Parmesan Cheese: Freshly and finely grated (you can use pre-grated cheese to save a step, but will need a bit more since it’s not as flavorful)
  • Garlic: Always
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: ♡♡♡
  • Salt and Black Pepper: Probably the biggest mistake people make with pesto is not seasoning it enough, so be sure to taste and add more salt and pepper if needed

Pistachio Pesto Sauce

How To Make Pistachio Pesto:

To make homemade pesto, simply…

  1. Pulse dry ingredients together in a blender or food processor until combined.  Basically, everything except the olive oil.  Pulse until everything is finely-chopped.
  2. Drizzle in the olive oil.  Then while your blender or food processor is still running, drizzle in the olive oil slowly until the mixture is combined.  Puree until smooth, stopping if needed too scrape down the sides so that everything is evenly mixed.  Also, if your pesto is too thick, feel free to thin it out with a few tablespoons of extra olive oil or water.
  3. Taste and season.  Give the sauce a taste (you can dip a veggie stick or piece of bread in, if you’d like), and season with extra salt and pepper if needed.  Also, feel free to add in extra Parmesan or basil or garlic if you’d like more of those flavors.
  4. Use immediately or store.  And enjoy!

How To Make Pistachio Pesto in the Food Processor

Pesto Recipe Variations:

Oh boy, there are infinite variations you could make to this pesto recipe.  Here are a few though!

  • Swap in different greens/herbs: In lieu of basil (or mixed with basil), you could swap in baby arugula, spinach, parsley, cilantro, etc.
  • Swap in different nuts: In lieu of pistachios, swap in walnuts, pecans, almonds, pepitas, or any other favorite nut.
  • Nix the cheese: If you would like to make vegan pesto, sub 3-5 tablespoons (to taste) nutritional yeast in place of the Parmesan.
  • Add some heat: I’m a big fan of adding in a few pinches of crushed red pepper flakes to give pesto an extra kick.

Ways To Use Pistachio Pesto:

There are also, of course, endless ways to use this pistachio pesto!  Some of my faves include using it as a:

  • Pasta or gnocchi sauce: Always so delicious!
  • Dipper for fresh veggies or bread: Perfect as an appetizer or snack.
  • Mixed into mashed potatoes: Leave out some of the butter and mix in some pesto instead!
  • Salad dressing: Just add in some extra oil or water to thin it out, then toss with your fave salad.
  • Pizza or crostini sauce: So simple and flavorful.
  • Soup garnish: Perfect with so many Italian soups.
  • Protein or veggie sauce: Pesto can pair well with nearly any meat, chicken or seafood, as well as just about every kind of cooked vegetable.  So feel free to use it as a finishing sauce for any protein or veggie dishes (especially grilled in the summertime).

How To Store Pesto:

How To Refrigerate Pesto: To refrigerate pesto, store it in a sealed container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.  Also, to prevent browning and also help the pesto last a bit longer, feel free to pour a thin layer of olive oil on top of the pesto to cover its surface.  Or alternatively, you can place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the surface of the pesto.

How To Freeze Pesto: Pesto also freezes beautifully!  You can freeze it in large batches if you would like.  But my favorite method is freezing it in ice cube trays so that it is divided up into small, versatile portions.  Just freeze, then pop the cubes out and into a freezer bag, and re-freeze until ready to use.

Enjoy, everyone!

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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!  See notes above for possible ingredient substitutions.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups lightly-packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. In a food processor or blender, pulse the basil, Parmesan, pistachios, garlic, salt and pepper together until finely-chopped.
  2. With the food processor or blender still running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until it is completely combined.  Pause the food processor or blender and scrape down the sides, then pulse again until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Serve immediately.  Or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
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