Pistachio Pesto - Chef Abbie Gellman MS, RD, CDN

Pistachio Pesto

Chef Abbie Gellman RD

A 5-Minute Basil Pistachio Pesto that is delicious, vegan, and dairy free. Serve on pasta or zucchini noodles, drizzle over baked vegetables, or use as a salad dressing! So versatile and tasty, you’re going to want to put it on everything. Seriously, Pistachio Pesto is soon to be your new favorite thing 🙂

Why Pistachios?

Pistachios are delicious and full of nutrients, including fiber, magnesium, and Vitamin E. They are also less expensive compared to pine nuts, which are the typical nut used in pesto. The pistachios help save you a little money and add a great flavor profile. The mint also adds a hint of something different that will make you love this as much as (or more than!) typical pesto.

Pistachio in Greek means “the green nut” and is widely cultivated in the Mediterranean region, but is believed to have originated in central and southwest Asia.  Pistachios are now cultivated globally from Australia to New Mexico and California.1  I bet the ancient Greeks would love this pistachio pesto recipe!

Pistachio Nutrition

Compared to other nuts, dry roasted pistachios have a lower fat content and a higher protein content that most common nuts (i.e. almonds, walnuts, pecans and hazelnuts).  They are also richer in fiber than many other nuts. 2

A 1 oz serving of pistachios (about 49 kernels) has 6g of protein, 3g of fiber and 13 g of fat.3

The high fiber content of pistachios can increase the feeling of fullness and reduce snacking between meals.  By making pistachio pesto we receive all of the aforementioned health benefits in the form of a delicious dip, sauce or spread!

Pistachios also contain a significant amount of minerals, such as potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium.  Given their nutritional profile, pistachios can play a role in improving health conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 2


In this pistachio pesto I use both basil and mint.  Simply pick the leaves off the stem, no chopping necessary! Fresh herbs make everything taste fresh and bright.  Mint provides a lingering cool effect that pairs well with the peppery and pungent taste of basil.

Feel free to use whatever greens you have in the refrigerator.  As a home chef, it’s fun to play with different combination like parsley and kale, dill and radish greens, or mint and beet greens.  If you try something new, make sure to share in the comments!


Typically pesto contains lemon juice, but I find that lime pairs the best with this pistachio pesto. Lime juice gives an acidic sparkle to the pistachio pesto.  It also helps prevent the pesto from turning brown. This is thanks to lime’s antioxidants, vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and citric acid.

If you want to brighten this pistachio pesto even more try zesting a lime before you juice it! The zest will add some of the tart flavor, but is more fragrant than the juice alone.

Olive Oil

I prefer to use extra virgin olive oil for pistachio pesto.  It has a more pungent and slightly bitter taste compared to olive oil.  If you prefer your pesto to be more neutral in flavor, then I recommend using regular olive oil.

If you watched my video, you noticed that I added the oil last, while the other ingredients were blending.  This will provide the needed liquid to blend and incorporate all the ingredients into a creamy, delicious pistachio pesto!


I love using a food processor because it has a larger blade, which provides more surface area to break up the garlic and pistachios.  The smaller food processor I used can only make about 1-2 cups of pesto at a time.  Alternatively, you can use a larger food processor, Vitamix, blender or immersion blender.  An immersion blender will require a bit of patience to make sure all the ingredients are broken up and it will likely be a chunkier style of pesto.


This pistachio pesto will have the best color and taste when used fresh, but it can store for a few days in the refrigerator.  You can also store for a few months in the freezer.  All you need is an ice cube tray! Fill the tray with pesto, place in the freezer, then pop them into a plastic freezer bag once they are frozen.

Let’s Get Blending!

This pistachio pesto can be ready in 10 minutes and is as versatile as ketchup! It is a nutritional powerhouse and less expensive to make than traditional pesto with pine nuts. Try it with pasta, crusty bread, crudité or just about anything!

Similar Pages

Looking for other delicious dips and spreads? Try my White Bean Romesco Sauce and Edamame Hummus. You can also serve the Pistachio Pesto with Vegetarian Pasta Salad or Mediterranean Chicken Skewers.


  1. Salas-Salvadó J, Casas-Agustench P, Salas-Huetos A. Cultural and historical aspects of Mediterranean nuts with emphasis on their attributed healthy and nutritional properties. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis NMCD. 2011;21 Suppl 1:S1-6. doi:10.1016/j.numecd.2010.10.013
  2. Hernández-Alonso P, Bulló M, Salas-Salvadó J. Pistachios for Health. Nutr Today. 2016;51(3):133-138. doi:10.1097/NT.0000000000000160
  3. FoodData Central. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170184/nutrients. Accessed January 29, 2020.


Pistachio Pesto

Pistachio Pesto

5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Salad, Side Dish, Snack
Keyword: pesto, pistachio
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Chef Abbie Gellman RD


  • 1 cup mint
  • ½ cup basil
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil


  • Put the mint, pistachios, garlic, salt, and lime juice into a food processor. Process until coarsely ground.
  • In a steady stream, add the oil.
  • Recommended to serve with vegetables, poultry, or fish. Actually, anything works great 




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