Basil Pistachio Pesto Pasta


As a lover of pasta, I like to consider myself a bit of a pesto connoisseur.

pesto 1

Be it basil, arugula, or spinach, there’s something about that pulverized herby goodness that makes my heart flutter.

Pesto 2

I generally stick to the walnut game when it comes to my standard pesto recipe, that is when I’m not feeling froggy and go for the pine nuts ($$$).  But when I recently received a bag of basil from my CSA that was big enough to stuff a pillow, and not a pine or wal-nut in sight, I had to break out of my shell a little.

(See what I did there?)

pesto 3

I should also mention that I’ve been on a major pistachio kick lately.  As in buying like 2 pound bags in the bulk nut area of the grocery store, and not leaving a morsel for poor Brandon to eat.  (You snooze you lose, amiright?) And so after a few minutes of shell crackin’ that’s just what I went with.

Aaaand now I’ve got a new favorite pesto recipe.

Basil Pistachio Pesto
Makes: about 2 cups pesto
Cook time: about 15
You’ll Need:
About 4 cups cleaned, trimmed basil leaves
1/2 cup roasted, lightly salted pistachios, shelled
1/2 cup reduced-fat grated parmesan cheese
1 T lemon juice
1/4 cup EV olive oil*
1 T minced garlic
pinch of salt and pepper

Serves: 4-6
13oz Whole wheat spaghetti
2 cups frozen mixed pepper & onion strips
Extra pinch of parmesan for garnish

Directions:  In a large food processor, combine basil, parm, lemon juice, garlic and pistachios.  Start pulsing, slowly pouring olive oil through the opening in the lid.  Add salt, and continue to pulse until evenly pureed.  (I like my pesto with a little texture, so I don’t go too crazy.)  Add more salt and pepper if desired.

Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a large pot.  Add pasta and cook for about 11 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a large sautee pan, heat oil over med-high and toss peppers, cooking for about 8 minutes, or until tender.  Mix about 1 cup pesto with cooked and drained pasta, and toss in peppers and onions.  Garnish with an extra pinch of parmesan on top and a small basil leaf if you’re really feeling fancy.

*Note: I also don’t like the olive oil to over-saturate my pesto, so I tend to go light while mixing, and add a little more at a time.  You can add more than 1/4 cup if you feel your finished product is too dry.

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It’s a wonderful thing when you first notice the mild sweetness that the pistachios lend to the pesto.  Oh, and also this dinner only takes like a half hour to make, so there’s that.

And apparently, pistachios are like good for you and junk.  See?  I told you I’m obsessed.

pesto 4

PS: I still hate that Gangnam Style pistachio commercial and want to throw my remote through the TV when it comes on.  But this… I love.

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  1. I have been eating pistachios lately—-every single night. Hmmm…that pesto looks delish but I may not be able to part (split?) with my unadulterated nuts. Save me some!


  2. Get out of my head – I had that STUPID Gangnam style pistachio commercial song in my head all morning. So irritating. But your pesto looks delightful! Anytime you can work pistachios into a dish, I’m a fan!

  3. I loooove pesto! Definitely going to try this recipe! 🙂

  4. Yum! My dad has a freezer full of his home-made pasta sauce and pesto so I export containers full to my own freezer.

  5. I’m a walnut pesto kind of person too, but I may have to try this out. I’m sure the flavor was amazing, since IMO pistachios have more flavor than other nuts.

    Random question – how much do the bulk bin nuts work out to cost wise? I’m wondering if that option is cheaper than somewhere like Costco… Thanks, Jess!

    • I usually end up paying like 8.99/lb if I do the bulk thing. I haven’t been to Costco in a while, tho, so I’m not sure how that stacks up! I’ve also seen the smaller bags on sale at Target before..

  6. Looks so good! Which is torture right now. But I will make this. Or I’ll buy a bag a pistachios and accidentally eat the whole bag before I get around to using them.

  7. wow yum! love the pistachio idea!

  8. Ugh, I hate the PSY pistachio commercial, too!! This looks fantastic, and we happen to have all ingredients on hand… 🙂

  9. this sounds so delicious! homemade pesto is THE best – i’ve never had it w/ pistachios before but have a good feeling about it! 🙂

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