Pistachio Pesto Recipe

I grew up eating pesto. On pasta, on toast, on eggs, this delicious sauce can be used in countless ways.

Not only is this pistachio pesto recipe tasty, it’s good for you. A raw food that includes just 6 nutrient-dense ingredients: raw grass-fed cheese, raw garlic, organic basil, organic olive oil, sea salt and nuts.

Through the years, my mom and I tweaked and tampered with this pistachio pesto recipe trying to perfect the flavor combinations. True pesto aficionados may wonder why we played with perfection in the first place. It was mainly due to the pine nuts normally called for in the recipe. I find that they’re too oily, don’t provide enough flavor, depth or crunch and they’re expensive. So, in our search, we tried nearly every nut and seed, and several cheeses…

Here is our final pesto recipe!

Pistachio Pesto Recipe Ingredients

  • 5 cups organic basil
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/3 cup of organic olive oil (a good brand here)
  • 1/3 cup of pistachios
  • 2-3 cloves garlic (3 if you like a bite)
  • Sea salt to taste (a good brand here)

The pistachio adds a nice crunch and less oil to the recipe since it’s one of the lower fat nuts. Additionally, the green nut perks up the pesto color into a vibrant spring green.

Parmigiano Reggiano is a classic raw cheese from Italy that tastes divine in pesto. It is pricey so if money is an issue, try regular parmesan or a parmesan/asiago blend for a little zip. The important thing about the cheese is to pick an aged, dry cheese for the recipe.

Pistachio Pesto Recipe Directions

Wash the basil leaves and let dry. You can use a Salad Spinner, which dries the basil leaves instantly (see more here.)
Grate your cheese. Peel your garlic cloves. Measure out your olive oil. Place all ingredients except oil and salt into a food processor (where to buy).

Blend and slowly add olive oil. Puree until all ingredients are well blended and in the consistency that you like.

Serve with hot pasta, spaghetti squash, toast, zucchini “noodles” and anything else that sounds good. Pesto is great cold or hot. You can store leftover pesto in the fridge for 3-5 days. You can also store in ice cube trays and freeze.


How about you? What’s your favorite pesto recipe?

Share with us in the comments below!


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  1. Amazing! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I have food sensitivities to aged cheeses and pistachios, so I just made this with cashews and feta. It was reaaaallly good!

  3. I saw this and im going to make it tomorrow night to go with the salmon im going to bake. My two favorites put together. I cant wait to try it!

  4. Thanks for this recipe!I made it last night and was great with the pistachios! I always thought that pine nuts were funky. I added a teaspoon of lemon so the basil didn’t brown.
    I also reserved a bit of the pasta cooking water when draining to add back at the end to make the sauce more creamy.

  5. Looks delish!!! Any suggestions for subbing the cheese as we have some sensitivities in our family.
    You look great! Did you put a hammer to your thumb?!? LOL

  6. This pistachio variation sounds delicious! Question re: quantity- approximately how much pesto does your recipe yield and are the “5 cups” of basil packed or loose??


  7. My husband also grew up eating pesto and we love to make it using the fresh leaves from our plant. Although, he was the one to introduce me to his family recipe I discovered that pine nuts like you said lack in flavor so in our house we always have a batch of roasted almonds (which I loved and ate so much while being pregnant) so I use those instead and it gives it a delicious crunchyness to it. Last time I made I spread the pesto over salmon and that was a hit; my 15 month old son loved it so did my hubby.

  8. Yes I’m going to try this for sure. Hey I like your 1980s Cuisinart. 🙂 I have one, too. Don’t mess with a good thing.

  9. I love pesto!! I never thought of making it with pistachios. What kind of pasta do you use? I used to eat pasta all the time until I discovered real food. I recently tried einkorn whole wheat spaghetti and it was good.

  10. Great Video! I like the little music insert (and so did my toddler son….he danced the jig while we both watched;) I will definitely be trying this soon. We eat pistachios here all the time and I have all ingredients minus the basil.

    Food videos? Maybe as the time get’s closer, how you set yourself up for food right after baby is born, or what you plan on cooking/freezing, if anything.

    Thanks for all you do, Genevieve!

    • Will do! I stocked up big with Griffin’s birth and was SO THANKFUL!


  11. We all adore pesto here and we make gobs every summer. We play around with recipes too. I long ago let go of traditional pignoli b/c of the price-and organic at the co-op? $32/lb! yeah, right. I will definitely try this one. Thanks for the flavor change!

    • No doubt! Pricey indeed! Hope you like as much as we do 🙂

      • I should mention what I’ve used instead at various times: walnuts, pecan flour, almonds.

  12. I am so going to get the ingredients for this today so I can try it out!

    • Oh good! Just had for lunch today with friend. YUM!

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