5-minute pistachio pesto is a versatile sauce made with only a handful of fresh ingredients and pantry staples. This dairy free recipe freezes well and can be used in a variety of ways from warm pasta to cold pasta salad, pizza and dipping sauce, to grilled meats and vegetables.
When it comes to homemade pesto, the variations are endless. Of course, there's classic basil pesto made with pine nuts, but this flavorful sauce base is one of my favorite ways to get creative in the kitchen.
You can switch out the nuts and seeds, and fresh herbs, or add in leafy greens or other vegetables for a completely different version. Some of my favorite pesto sauce variations are roasted red pepper pesto, zucchini pesto, pesto rosso, and arugula pesto.
Here's what you'll need to make this basil pistachio pesto:
- Fresh basil leaves - a key ingredient in pesto and contributes to the green sauce.
- Roasted pistachio nuts - you can use salted or unsalted pistachios. If you use salted, add less salt at the end to taste. Similarly to pine nuts, these have a mild taste and a sweet flavor and pair nicely with the other ingredients.
- Nutritional yeast - this is used in place of parmesan cheese to keep it dairy-free.
- Garlic clove - for added flavor. If you love garlic, you can always add more.
- Fresh lemon zest and lemon juice - a squeeze of lemon juice adds brightness to the sauce and the zest adds a lovely lemon flavor that pairs nicely with the basil and pistachios.
- Extra virgin olive oil - you want just enough olive oil to give it the right consistency without it being soupy.
- Freshly cracked black pepper - to taste.
- Big pinch of salt - to taste.
How to Make Pistachio Pesto
Step 1. Add the fresh basil leaves, roasted pistachios, nutritional yeast, garlic cloves, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times until finely chopped.
Step 2. With the machine running, slowly pour in the olive oil. Season to taste with a big pinch of kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and more lemon juice if needed, to taste.
Make It Your Way: Substitutions & Variations
Please remember that recipes are just a starting point.
How can you make this simple pistachio pesto recipe using what you already have? Here are some ideas...
- No roasted pistachios? - use raw pistachios, but toast them in a dry skillet until lightly golden and aromatic. This will give them a more elevated flavor.
- Add-ins - red pepper flakes for a little heat.
How to Store & Freeze
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
If you want to freeze it for later use, you can make a large batch (or a couple of large batches depending on your family size). To freeze, transfer the pesto to silicone ice cube trays. Once frozen, you can easily pop them out and transfer them to a tightly sealed freezer bag where they'll keep for 2-3 months. Avoid leaving them in the ice cube trays for too long to avoid freezer burn.
How to Serve
Make pistachio pesto pasta, serve with proteins such as lemon butter fish, baked Italian bison meatballs, add a drizzle to dairy free tomato soup, use it for the sauce in a pizza wrap, serve it with grilled chicken, salmon, vegetables, eggs, or roasted potatoes, spread it on toast, etc.
More Pesto Recipes
- Add the fresh basil leaves, roasted pistachios, nutritional yeast, garlic cloves, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times until finely chopped.
- With the machine running, slowly pour in the olive oil. Season to taste with a big pinch of kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and more lemon juice if needed, to taste.