Pistachio Pesto is a truly simple sauce that can be made at home in less than 10 minutes with just a few high quality ingredients. In fact, you likely already have everything you need to whip up a batch! While pesto is traditionally made with pint nuts, this version with toasted pistachios has a rich, buttery, nutty taste that is irresistible. It’s one of our favorite sauces to make when basil is in season.
Perfectly balanced with fresh lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, and Parmesan, this pesto recipe will add a burst of flavor to any dish, from pasta and sandwiches, to meats, seafood, and veggies. We love using it to make our Pesto Salmon!
- Fresh basil leaves: You’ll need about 2 cups of packed basil leaves. Don’t even think about using dried basil!
- Toasted pistachios: Shelled and unsalted (so you can control the level of salt in the pesto recipe).
- A garlic clove, thinly sliced: Adds a sharp bite to the pesto sauce!
- Lemon zest and fresh lemon juice: To brighten and round out the flavors!
- Extra virgin olive oil: Use a high quality extra virgin olive oil, the flavor really shines through!
- Grated Parmigiano Reggiano: There is no replacement for Parmesan!
You can easily grind pesto ingredients with a mortar and pestle, but we prefer the easier method of using a food processor fitted with blade attachment. You can also use a small personal blender if preferred, but it’s easier to over process the pesto, so go slowly.
How To Make Pistachio Pesto
- Pulse the pesto ingredients. Place fresh basil leaves, pistachios, garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until very finely chopped, then stream in the olive oil. Transfer to a small bowl.
- Stir in the grated Parmesan, then add a bit more olive oil until you reach your desired consistency. Taste, then adjust seasoning with Kosher salt and black pepper.
- Store. Spoon the pistachio pesto into a jar or bowl. You can use it immediately or refrigerate for later use. It’ll keep up to a week!
Totally optional, but for a beautiful presentation, consider garnishing with additional chopped pistachios and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
How To Store Pesto
Store pistachio pesto in a refrigerator for up to 5-7 days. Be sure to keep it in an airtight container to keep it fresh. This will also help the pesto stay a nice, vibrant green color!
To freeze pesto: Store leftovers in single portions in an ice cube tray, then freeze until solid. Once frozen, pop the pesto ice cubes out and transfer to a large freezer safe storage bag. The pesto will keep for up to 6 months and can be added directly to the pan from frozen to make quick sauces for pasta, chicken, seafood, grilled meats, or vegetables. It’s in instant boost of flavor!
Check out a few of our favorite ways to use leftover pesto!
Different Uses For Pesto
There are endless ways to use and enjoy pesto! Some of our favorite uses include:
- As a sauce for pasta, sandwiches, or wraps. Try it with our Chicken Pesto Pasta or Trenette al Pesto.
- With meat, poultry, or seafood: Simply spoon on top of grilled, roasted, baked, or pan-friend proteins. Would even be fantastic over tofu! Spoon it over Grilled Spatchcock Chicken!
- Added to eggs! We love pesto with eggs. Consider serving with fried eggs, scrambled eggs, mixed into frittatas. We even love pesto with polenta and eggs!
- Toast the pistachios! This gives a nuttier flavor and taste than if you used raw pistachios.
- Use fresh herbs: There is a time and a place for dried herbs, but pesto is not it. Use fresh!
- Use a high quality evoo: The quality of the extra virgin olive oil really matters here, given how few ingredients there are in pesto. Make sure to use something that is not bitter or too over powering, but with a robust, yet smooth taste.
Substitutions & Variations
Can I use other nuts? Absolutely! Traditional basil pesto is made with pine nuts, which we adore, but it’s fun to mix things up a little bit. If you’d rather, consider substituting walnuts with pecans, almonds, or walnuts. Our Walnut Pesto recipe might just be our all-time favorite!
Can pesto be made vegan? We’ve never tried Parmesan cheese alternatives, but if you enjoy the taste and have found a product you love, definitely give it a try here!
Leafy greens: In place of fresh basil, consider using arugula or baby spinach. Or a mix of the above with fresh mint!
Other add-in’s: This would be delicious with some sun-dried tomatoes or roasted red peppers thrown in!
One taste and we’re certain you’ll agree: this homemade pesto deserves a spot on the table! If you make this Pistachio Pesto recipe, please let us know by leaving a review and rating below!
And make sure to sign up for our newsletter and follow along on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Pinterest, and Facebook for more Well Seasoned recipes! DON’T FORGET to tag us on social channels when you make a recipe at #wellseasonedstudio !! We LOVE seeing what you’re up to in the kitchen!
Easy Pistachio Pesto (For Meats, Seafood, Pasta, and Veggies)
- 2 cups tightly packed basil leaves
- ¼ cup toasted pistachios unsalted
- 1 medium lemon zested, about 2 tsp, and juiced, about 2 Tbsp
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- ⅓ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- ⅓ – ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Finely pulse ingredients. Place 2 cups basil leaves, ¼ cup pistachios, 2 tsp lemon zest, 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, and 1 chopped garlic clove in the bowl of a food processor fitted with blade attachment. Process until very finely chopped.
- Drizzle in the olive oil. With the motor running, drizzle in ⅓ cup of extra virgin olive oil.
- Stir in the Parmesan. Transfer to a bowl, then stir in ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese. Add remaining olive oil if you want a thinner consistency, stirring until very well mixed. Taste, then adjust seasoning adding Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, as wanted.
Photography by Jo Harding.