This pistachio pasta sauce is not only delicious, but it's a great recipe to use up extra greens. Make a full 4 serving recipe to freeze for later so you can have a quick dinner in just 10 minutes. Also try this easy Arugula Basil Pesto.
[This recipe was originally posted in November 2018. It has been updated with new photos, cooking instructions, expert tips, FAQ, related recipes, video and ways to repurpose/use up ingredients]
How will this recipe make your life easier?
This simple pistachio pasta sauce recipe is a great way to use up spinach that's just started to wilt or is going bad. You make it in the blender and throw it on your favorite pasta. Add tofu or chicken, and you've got a full meal. What's even better is that you can freeze leftover sauce in an ice cube tray and grab some for a really quick dinner that doesn't taste like it took just 10 minutes to prepare.
Check out these other great pasta recipes: Black Bean Pasta, 15 Minute Pasta, Pasta with Green Beans and Mushroom Sauce, Lemony Carbonara, or Italian Sausage Tortellini.
What makes this sauce so good?
- Olive oil
- Parmesan cheese
- Lemon juice
How do I make Pistachio Pasta Sauce?
Add 1 c shelled pistachios (about 4 oz), 4 c fresh baby spinach leaves, 1 c basil leaves, ¼ c mint leaves, ¾ c olive oil, 3 cloves garlic, ½ c grated parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoon lemon juice and ⅛ teaspoon salt to a blender. Blend until smooth. Add up to ¼ cup more oil if needed.
To eat immediately, make this Pesto Pasta, or divide into an ice cube tray and freeze for later.
- Use up leftover greens with this delicious light pesto sauce to top pasta, chicken, or as a bright & flavorful salad dressing. You can also add it to plain hummus for a delicious snack (also for post: show freezer ready.... and do video).
- Add more oil if it doesn't blend well.
- If using a high powered blender, like the Blendtec I use, don't half the recipe. The blade needs enough greens or ingredients to work with. If you don't make much, the nuts and greens won't get chopped at all.
- If freezing, freeze in an ice tray, then transfer cubes to a bag. I've tried to freeze it in a jar & just in a bag, and that's not ideal for smaller meals.
What pasta goes with pesto sauce?
The best pasta for pesto are pastas that have lots of curves and grooves. The sauce sticks to those curves and grooves so it sticks to the pasta and is delicious. My favorites are penne, fusilli, rotini, and orecchiette. Again, anything with ridges or curves. I got these suggestions from a Delish article, check out a more detailed list here.
How do you make pesto pasta sauce from scratch?
Use similar proportions to the ingredients in this recipe: pine nuts, basil leaves, olive oil, lemon, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
What does pesto sauce taste like?
Pesto usually has lots of basil, olive oil, and pine nuts. It tastes nutty, a touch bitter from the basil, and garlicky. You can adjust the amounts in your recipe to make it just as you like. You can always swap the basil for spinach or arugula and the pine nuts for pistachios depending on what you have on hand. Pesto is a great recipe to use up ingredients you have on hand.
How can I repurpose this pesto?
- Dip fresh bread into this pesto
- Use as a salad dressing, with extra olive oil
What can I make with leftover ingredients?
- Pistachios: eat plain or blend together to make nut butter, like this one.
- Spinach: Thai Beef and Spinach Bowl, Spinach Salad with Strawberries, and Butternut Squash Lasagna Rolls.
- Mint: Shamrock Shake and Spiced Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce.
- Parmesan cheese: Delicata Squash Soup, Spinach Salad with Roasted Pears and Oranges, & Warm Kale Salad.
Did you make this pistachio pasta sauce? Leave me a comment & rating to share how it turned out!
Healthy Pistachio Pasta Sauce
- cutting board
- Measuring Spoons
- Measuring Cups
- High Powered Blender/Food Processor
- 1 cup shelled pistachios (4 ounces)
- 4 cups fresh spinach stems removed
- 1 cup basil leaves
- ¼ cup mint leaves
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Add all ingredients to food processor or high powered blender. Mix together until smooth. Add more olive oil if it's too dry for you.
- Swap spinach for arugula or other greens
- Add up to ¼ cup additional oil if pesto doesn't blend well
- Use pesto as a pasta sauce, top fish or chicken, or use as a salad dressing.
- You can also freeze this pesto to use later
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Deanna Segrave-Daly says
Delicious, convenient and a great way to use up tired greens - love it!
thanks Deanna! and yes love using up those tired greens
Carrie A Groff says
I've never made my own pesto, but this recipe looks so simple I may just have to try it! I love pesto!
ya, it's too easy to not make it. let me know how it goes
Amy Gorin says
I love this idea! And it's so pretty!
thanks so much Amy!
Deborah Brooks says
I am loving all of these creative uses for pistachios!
thanks! so many uses
Abbey Sharp says
mmm you had me at pesto and freezer friendly! Love that freezer trick
Summer Price says
I am a huge pesto fan and I love that you have mint and pistachios in your pesto! It looks amazing!
thanks! its a fun change for sure
I love pesto! I never had it until the last couple years but now I can't get enough of it!
right?! me too
This looks really good. I love a good Pesto sauce.
This is not only super healthy AND delicious, but also such a great hack - to freeze these. I mean, brilliant idea. I love pistachios in pesto and in my pasta dinner. I'll be making this soon. Yum!
yay! let me know how it goes. I love pistachios in this pesto because they seem to freeze better than other nuts too!