This vegan pistachio pesto pasta is a twist on traditional pesto by switching pistachios for pine nuts. Ready in under 30 minutes, this would be a great weeknight family meal.
I’ve always been a pasta freak. Growing up I didn’t really eat much for dinner except pasta. My mom wasn’t the best cook (I’m not dissing my mom here, she says so herself and is not ashamed).
All she really ever made for my sister and me for dinner was pasta (usually with some bottled tomato sauce) so I got used to having it daily. After leaving for college and seeing that other people actually ate something besides pasta, I began to try new things. I also now realize eating at least a half a box of pasta with no veggies or protein every night is not the healthiest option.
Pasta still holds a special place in my heart though and I enjoy a nice bowl of it once a week. I love coming up with new recipes that align with my plant-based eating, like with my Cashew Mac & Cheese and Lemon One Pot Pasta. I’ve even gotten my mom into trying some of my recipes too and she is much better health-wise.
When spring comes around I find myself craving pesto sauce. It must be the green of that basil that reminds me that winter is gone and a new beginning has started.
I came up with this vegan pistachio pesto pasta to the recipe after getting home from the store with all of my groceries just to realize that I forgot the pine nuts. I didn’t want to run back out but I remembered that I had some leftover pistachios from last week’s salad (yay!).
I figured it couldn’t hurt to try to substitute the nuts and it worked out well! I also love how the pistachios made the pesto even greener. (Is greener a word? It got past spell check so I’m going to leave it in.)
I think this recipe is a fun twist on original pesto and is fit for many that have dietary restrictions.
No cheese is added to this pistachio pesto pasta for those that are vegan or dairy-free. I substitute nutritional yeast for getting a bit of the cheesy flavor that parmesan usually adds. I also throw a nice heaping spoonful (or 2) of my parmesan cheese alternative to top the pasta before I dig in.
Gluten-free pasta or zucchini noodles can be substituted for regular pasta if you’re gluten-free.
If you make this pistachio pesto pasta recipe, let me know what you think by ★ star rating it and leaving a comment below.
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Pistachio Pesto Pasta
- 1 box gluten free pasta (or pasta of choice)
- 1 cup tightly packed fresh basil (stems removed)
- 1/2 cup pistachios (plus more for garnish)
- 1-2 garlic cloves (depending on how garlic-y you like it)
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- juice of half a lemon
- 2 tb nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 6 tb olive oil
- veggie broth (optional more if needed)
- Cook the pasta to package directions.
- While pasta is cooking add all the ingredients* (except the oil and veggie broth) into a food processor and process.
- Slowly add in oil while processing and process until smooth.
- You can add a few tablespoons of veggie broth to thin out the sauce if needed.
Mary Ellen Valverde MS, CNS, LDN is a Licensed Nutritionist and Certified Nutrition Specialist who empowers vegans to feel confident creating sustainable habits that align with their values and health goals. She shares easy plant-powered food to nourish your body + satisfy your tastebuds. Mary Ellen’s recipes and nutrition info have been featured on Yahoo News, Parade, VegNews, LIVESTRONG, Dr. Axe, Greatist, LIVEKINDLY, Brit+Co, Well+Good, and more. She lives in NJ with her husband & two sweet shih tzus, Firenze & Sophie.