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!
This thick and delicious vegan spinach pesto 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.
This recipe requires only a few basic cooking tools. Here's what you'll need:
- Food processor or blender
- 4 qt. stovetop pot
- Strainer or colander
- Measuring spoons and cup
- Cutting board
🥕 See the printable recipe below for complete 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
- Sea salt - or any salt you have on hand
- Olive oil - extra virgin
The first thing you'll want to do is thoroughly wash your spinach. We like to remove the stems, because they can be a bit bitter. Next, blanch the spinach in a pot of boiling water for about 2 minutes. Strain all the excess water.
- Grind the pistachios in a food processor or blender.
- Add the rest of your ingredients and pulse until smooth.
- Add olive oil as needed.
We like ours thick, but if you prefer your pesto on the saucier side, simply add more olive oil. That's it. So easy!
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."
🥕 What is pesto served with?
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:
- Vegan Zucchini Ravioli - one of our fan favorites!
- Vegan Spinach Ricotta Shells - sooooo gooood!
- Crusty artisan bread
- Bread sticks
- Vegan Meatballs - you'll love this recipe!
- Imagine the possibilities!
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.
very vegan 🌱 very good
If you’ve enjoyed this recipe ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ please rate it in the comments below.
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.
I’m trying to be oil free so do you absolutely have to use the EVOO or can you just omit it?
Connie Edwards McGaughy
Hi Irla, if you omit the oil, the pesto will be quite thick and rather dry. I haven't tried this before, but you could perhaps add some water, or a small amount of an oil-free (light tasting) Italian dressing you like. Anything with much seasoning will affect the flavor of the pesto. Love to hear if you give it a go! 🌱
This recipe is easy to prepare and delicious. I make it often. It freezes well too.
Connie Edwards McGaughy
Kathleen, I'm so happy you love this pesto recipe. I was hooked the first time I tasted it. Glad to know it freezes well, we never seem to have enough leftover to put in the freezer! 😁 Thanks a bunch for sharing!💚🥕
Payton | In The Flux
Looks delicious! Do you think pine nuts could work instead of the pistachios? (:
Connie Edwards McGaughy
Hi Payton! Sure, absolutely you could use pine nuts, which would give it a more traditional pesto flavor. We loved the richness & lightly sweet flavor imparted by the pistachios, plus their natural green hue added to vibrant green color of this pesto. Would love to hear how it turns out should you decide to give it a go with pine nuts! Thanks a bunch!🥕
Connie Edwards McGaughy
Such a wonderful spin on traditional pesto. The addition of fresh spinach and pistachios with just the right amount of fresh basil, lemon, garlic, sea salt and a touch of EVOO combine to make the most intensely delicious & nutritious pesto sauce ever!