Pistachio Pesto


Pistachios are a bit of an unsung hero, relegated to mint green ice cream and out-of-hand snacking. This Pistachio Pesto recipe is plant-based, dairy-free, and bursting with freshness.

I like using pistachios in recipes because they add a unique flavor plus a fantastic texture. If you’ve never used pistachios in pesto, now’s the time to give it a try!

Two herbs that grow splendidly in any garden are mint and parsley. Right now, we’re growing mint, basil and cilantro in our backyard garden– and they are taking off! Mint might even take over the yard if not contained!

Making pesto is fun and a great way to use up a plethora of garden goodies, like herbs. This pistachio pesto recipe combines the freshness of the garden with the creamy, richness of pistachios, plus a bright hit of lemon.

mint leaves for pesto recipe

How to make pistachio pesto

To make this Pistachio Pesto recipe, start with giving the pistachios and garlic a quick blitz in the food processor or blender. If making by hand, finely chop with a chef’s knife. Then add the other ingredients, except for the olive oil, and pulse until finely chopped. The oil goes in last – only use what you need – and process or blend until it reached the desired consistency. I like mine a little chunkier. You can even blend it until it’s very smooth – totally up to you!

When making pistachio pesto, the formula is more or less the same, so you have the freedom to change things up and swap out different ingredients for a designer pesto.

The flavor of pistachios combined with lemon, mint, and parsley is unmatched. This also makes the pesto very versatile. While you can certainly serve it tossed with hot pasta and veggies, it’s also wonderful as a sandwich spread, veggie dip, sauce for roasted veggies (especially cauliflower and sweet potatoes!), pizza, stirred into vinaigrettes or other salad dressings, and just about anywhere else you can think of.

How long can you store pesto?

Pesto can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 weeks, but can also be frozen for much longer. The freezing process will cause the texture or consistency of the pesto to deteriorate a little bit, so plan on giving the thawed pesto another quick spin in the food processor before using. An ice cube tray is perfect for creating little cubes that you can quickly add to soups and stews. Just be sure to store the pesto – cubes or not – in an airtight, freezer-proof container or bag.

fresh mint leaves and sea salt

Where to buy pistachios

You’ll find pistachios in the baking, dried fruit and nut, produce, or bulk food section of most grocery stores. Buying pistachios online is also an option and may provide a better price point. Costco and Trader Joes are my go-to for nuts, yet I also love using Thrive Market.

Pistachios are sold raw or roasted with or without shells. I prefer to use lightly salted roasted pistachios because I love their flavor. Using raw pistachios will give the pesto a little extra creaminess.

If you don’t like pistachios or need to use a substitute, I recommend almonds, walnuts, pecans, pinenuts, macadamia nuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, or shelled hemp hearts. Use the same amount as is called for in the recipe.

pistachio pesto recipe

Pistachio Pesto

  • Author: Jen Hansard
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup
  • Category: condiments
  • Method: blending
  • Cuisine: italian
  • Diet: Vegan


Plant-based pistachio pesto recipe combines parsley and mint with roasted pistachios and lemon juice for a sauce that is vibrant and fresh.


  • ¼ cup shelled pistachios, raw or toasted
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 1 cup mint, loosely packed
  • 3 cups parsley leaves, loosely packed
  • Juice and zest of 1 large lemon
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Sea salt, to taste


  1. Place pistachios and garlic cloves into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Pulse until finely chopped.
  2. Add mint, parsley, and lemon zest to the food processor. Pulse a few times to combine.
  3. With motor running, add lemon juice and olive oil through the feed hole. Stop and scrape down sides as needed. Once pesto is the consistency of a slightly chunky paste, stop the food processor and add a good pinch of sea salt. Pulse a few times. Taste and add a little more salt, if needed.
  4. Transfer to a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Can also be frozen for up to 2 months.


  • Try substituting cilantro or basil for the mint and parsley, or another leafy herb, to create a unique pesto.

Keywords: pistachio pesto recipe

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