Vegan Spinach Pesto with Pistachios 🌱A vibrant fusion of fresh spinach, basil & pistachios brightened with a splash of lemon & minced garlic. If you like pesto, you're going to LOVE this healthy, delicious and easy recipe!
If you have ever experienced authentic Italian pesto sauce, you likely understand why it is so popular. The magic lies in its uncomplicated yet incredible blend of fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. The combination of flavors are intensely satisfying and can add life to even a stale piece of bread. The only problem is, traditional pesto is not vegan, as it includes dairy cheese. The beauty is, pesto is one of those dishes that is easy to veganize and modify to your liking, which is what we have done with this fabulous, better than ever, 100% plant-based pesto recipe.
This thick and delicious vegan spinach pesto sauce is fantastic spread on slices of fresh baked bread. It's perfect to serve on a grazing board accompanied with a variety of vegan cheeses, olives, crackers and our fabulous vegan tzatziki sauce and heavenly homemade hummus.
Over the years, I have sampled many versions of pesto sauces - restaurant, store-bought, and homemade. I've had traditional pesto made with basil, pine nuts, grated parmesan and olive oil. l've sampled pesto with cilantro, sun-dried tomatoes, arugula, kale, even avocado. Some of them had pepitas, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, or cashews added. Some had no oil. Others were swimming in oil. I discovered that my favorite recipes had less oil and no pine nuts. Call me weird, but I find pine nuts to be a bit fishy-tasting, a flavor (frankly) I don't want to taste in anything I eat.
Recently, my husband John was getting creative in the kitchen - as he so often does. I walked in to see what he was up to, when he handed me a slice of sourdough baguette topped with this amazing green spread. I took one bite and couldn't believe what I was tasting. It was INCREDIBLE! We wiped out the entire batch of his fabulous vegan spinach pesto with pistachios in one day.
🌱 Why you really should try this recipe
- Quick & easy to prepare (less than 20 minutes!)
- Makes a fantastic dip, spread or sauce
- Perfect on pasta, pizza, sandwiches, roasted veggies and tofu
- Healthy & delicious!
- Looks and smells amazing
How to make the best vegan spinach pesto with pistachios
Unlike a traditional basil pesto, this wonderful recipe's main ingredient is spinach, with some basil included for that authentic flavor. The addition of pistachios, garlic, fresh lemon, sea salt and just a touch of olive oil boosts the intensity of this thick sauce, giving it a rich, irresistible flavor & texture.
🌱 Ingredient Notes
🥕 See the printable recipe card below for quantities & details.
- Spinach - fresh
- Pistachios - shelled, unsalted (if you can only find salted, reduce the added salt in the recipe)
- Lemon juice - fresh preferred, bottled is ok too.
- Basil leaves - fresh
- Garlic - fresh (peeled)
- Sea salt - or any salt you have on hand
- Olive oil - extra virgin
Thoroughly rinse spinach leaves in water, making sure to remove any sand or debris.
Place spinach into a pot of boiling water. Blanch for about 2 minutes, until leaves are just tender. Be sure to squeeze out the excess water.
In a food processor or blender, pulse pistachios until finely ground. Add garlic, pulse.
Add spinach, basil, lemon juice, salt and olive oil. Pulse until fully blended and at the consistency you prefer. Add more olive oil, if desired, one teaspoon at a time.
🌱 Expert Tip
We like to remove the stems from spinach leaves because they can be a bit bitter and tough. Simply hold the the leaf in one hand and fold it over, along the stem, with the back of the leaf exposed. Using your other hand, gently strip away the stem by pulling it toward the tip of the leaf. Easy! If you don't have the time or inclination to remove the stems, no worries, it's ok to leave them on.
We like ours thick, but if you like your pesto on the saucier side, simply add more olive oil. That's it. Grab a baguette or fresh loaf of sourdough & dig in!
What is Pesto?
The origin of this rich, bright green sauce that we know & love can be traced back to ancient times when Romans ate a similar paste-like sauce called "moretum". Made of crushed garlic, herbs, salt, cheese, olive oil & vinegar, the sauce evolved with the addition of nuts and eventually, basil. The pesto we know today originated in Genoa, Italy and is often made with a mortar and pestle. In fact, the word "pesto" is past tense for the Genoese verb "pestare," meaning "to crush."
🌱 Serving Suggestions
Pesto is the ultimate secret sauce. It's like a splash of vibrant color painted on a blank canvas. Any savory food item or dish that needs the volume boosted with intense flavor - this is your spread. Try this vegan spinach pesto with pistachios sprinkled with yummy homemade vegan parmesan!
This easy vegan pesto sauce is fantastic served on:
🌱 Pesto FAQ's
Yes, you can substitute pistachios with other nuts if you prefer. Almonds, cashews, pine nuts, or walnuts are commonly used as alternatives. You can also add seeds, such as sunflower or pumpkin seeds. Feel free to experiment and find the nut that suits your taste preferences.
The basic ingredients of vegan spinach pesto with pistachios are gluten-free. However, it's important to check the labels of store-bought ingredients or any add-ins you might use to ensure they are gluten-free and not packaged on shared equipment.
Yes, you can use a blender instead of a food processor to make vegan spinach pesto with pistachios. However, you may need to scrape down the sides more frequently and blend in smaller batches to achieve the desired consistency.
Vegan spinach pesto with pistachios is best consumed within 24 hours, while the color is most vibrant. Store leftover pesto sauce refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
If you love this recipe ★★★★★ please be sure to rate it below! Sharing your experience let's me know that you enjoyed it and helps other readers decide if they should give the recipe a try too. Thanks a bunch!🥕
Vegan Spinach Pesto with Pistachios
- food processor or blender
- 4 qt stovetop pot
- strainer or colander
- 6 oz spinach fresh
- ½ cup pistachios
- 1 large lemon juiced 5-6 tbsp
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
- 2 large garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
- Thoroughly rinse spinach. Remove stems.
- Fill 4 qt stovetop pot with water. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Place spinach leaves in pot. Blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes.
- Remove spinach immediately. Run under cold water. Squeeze out all excess liquid.
- In a food processor or blender, pulse pistachios until finely ground.
- Add garlic. Pulse.
- Add spinach, basil, lemon juice, salt and olive oil.
- Pulse until fully pureed and smooth.
- Add more olive oil, if desired, one teaspoon at a time.
- Enjoy immediately. Store covered in refrigerator for up to 2 days.
These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you're using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.