Pistachio Pesto

Pesto is one of my very favorite things to make, maybe partly because it is something I learned to make young and was something more elevated I felt like I’d mastered (even though it couldn’t be more simple). I loved to make pesto dishes for people through college which were really the years I experiment more with cooking, but pesto I knew I could do and everyone liked. It is so easy, so fresh, and so yummy! I love that it involves lots of good ingredients (not necessarily low cal) but full of good fats and nutrients. 

For a few years I made my homemade pesto for my team at work as my Christmas present ~ it felt like a nice switch up from all the sweets, which I could go on a whole separate tangent about — why can’t we gift more savory things at the holidays, I love chocolate but can only eat so much! Also just for the record pesto goes over as a great office gift! Anyway, one year a co-worker of mine (a Sicilian heritage foodie) tried some of my pesto sauce, and challenged me to try making exactly what I’d done, but with pistachios instead of pine nuts. Let me tell you, traditional pesto (basil pine nut) is good, but substituting pistachios for the pine nuts is next level ~ the pistachios still provided a creamy sauce when pureed enough but pack more flavor.

Pesto is great with so many recipes — toss with any pasta, tastes especially great if you add sausage, chicken or shrimp. I love adding pesto to sandwiches like this hot honey pesto chicken sandwich, to garlic bread, over cooked chicken, with caprese salad, etc. Nothing beats homemade without any added preservatives or ingredients — also SUPER easy to freeze and eat later since it is oil based — I love making big batches and then freezing some ziplock bags with small amounts in each to take out of the freezer, only takes a few minutes to thaw running baggie under some warm water and tastes good as fresh! Hope you guys enjoy ~ 

Pistachio Pesto


  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp kosher sea, or himilayan salt
  • 1.5 oz. parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • 2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice


  • Add pistachios to a food processor and blend until really finely chopped. Set aside in a bowl.
  • Add garlic cloves and salt to processor and again blend until finely chopped. Add to bowl with the pistachios.
  • Add 1.5 oz. cheese to processor and blend until fine, add to bowl with pistachio blend.
  • Add basil leaves and olive oil to processor. Process until basil leaves are finely chopped. Add the pistachio blend back into the food processor and blend until fully combined.
  • Enjoy with your favorite pasta, on a sandwich, etc!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

OMG! Why don’t other pesto recipes give this progression to make pesto! I have never in all my years of doing this have come out with such a smooth product! You’re awesome! I will never make pesto any other way!-Carolyn

2 thoughts on “Pistachio Pesto

  1. There is lemon juice, listed in the ingredients, but not in the instructions on how to make the pesto. Assume you just added at the end?

    1. Hi Stuart,

      Thank you for calling this to my attention, I must have accidentally removed this step during my recent edit. Yes, you can add a little lemon juice at the end for flavor and freshness if desired. It helps keep the pesto greener if you are not finishing all in one day as well. I will update the post!

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