Super Simple Pistachio Pesto The Whole Family Will Love!




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This vegetarian pesto combines pistachio nuts, basil and red onion to create a delicious flavor, and to change up your weeknight pasta routine! Easy to make ahead and great as an appetizer on bread too. I call it gourmeet mac and cheese and the kids are fooled! #pesto #dinnertonight #dinnerrecies #familydinner #pestorecipe #vegetarian #vegetarianrecipes #easyrecipe

This vegetarian pesto combines pistachio nuts, basil and red onion to create a delicious flavor, and to change up your weeknight pasta routine! Easy to make ahead and great as an appetizer on bread too. I call it gourmet mac and cheese and the kids are fooled! 

I am constantly looking for recipes that I can make easily on a weeknight and that everyone in the family enjoys likes to eat. Before I had kids, I really enjoyed listening to The Splendid Table on NPR during my commute home from teaching high school Spanish, and I fell in love with their chopping board pesto recipe.

This vegetarian pesto combines pistachio nuts, basil and red onion to create a delicious flavor, and to change up your weeknight pasta routine! Easy to make ahead and great as an appetizer on bread too. I call it gourmeet mac and cheese and the kids are fooled! #pesto #dinnertonight #dinnerrecies #familydinner #pestorecipe #vegetarian #vegetarianrecipes #easyrecipe

I love the nutty flavor the pistachios bring to the pasta, and overall simplicity of the meal. Unfortunately, since there is quite a bit of green onion in the original recipe, the flavor is a bit too strong for my lovely picky children. I set out to modify the recipe, and then told the kids it was like a gourmet macaroni and cheese- and they bought it! Score for a family-friendly recipe that is also super yummy. 

What’s In Pistachio Pesto?

The ingredients for the pistachio pesto are super easy to have handy. It’s just red onion, fresh garlic, pistachios, fresh basil, salt, pepper and olive oil.

I’ve tried using frozen garlic, but the pesto really does come out best if the garlic is freshly chopped at the time of cooking. I do love to buy the big packages of basil at Trader Joe’s and make a big batch to freeze. I also love to substitute some pink Himalayan sea salt or experiment with really high-end olive oil. 

What Do I Serve With Weeknight Pesto?

This pesto is delicious on it’s own on top of some delicious bread- like our favorite homemade bread from the New York Times. Of course, we mix it into some spiral pasta with shredded mozzarella cheese. I love to make a quick garlic shrimp recipe alongside, or some delicious scallops with veggies go great too.  Oven baked crispy Asian Brussels sprouts are amazing as an additional vegan side, as is a big old Italian green salad.  

This vegetarian pesto combines pistachio nuts, basil and red onion to create a delicious flavor, and to change up your weeknight pasta routine! Easy to make ahead and great as an appetizer on bread too. I call it gourmeet mac and cheese and the kids are fooled! #pesto #dinnertonight #dinnerrecies #familydinner #pestorecipe #vegetarian #vegetarianrecipes #easyrecipe

I love this recipe because it is super yummy, but also because it can be eaten hot or cold, so it’s perfect for a picnic. We recently made some and ate it cold at the Denver Botanic Gardens for a delicious picnic with friends- and some white Vinho Verde really goes nice with it. The pesto also saves well in the fridge and only gets better with age- so it’s a good one to make ahead as well. It might even spread well on some avocado toast for breakfast!

This vegetarian pistachio pesto combines pistachio nuts, basil and red onion to create a delicious flavor, and to change up your weeknight pasta routine! Easy to make ahead and great as an appetizer on bread too. I call it gourmet mac and cheese and the kids are fooled! #pesto #dinnertonight #dinnerrecies #familydinner #pestorecipe #vegetarian #vegetarianrecipes #easyrecipe

Easy Weeknight Pistachio Pesto Recipe

This vegetarian pesto combines pistachio nuts, basil and red onion to create a delicious flavor, and to change up your weeknight pasta routine! Easy to make ahead and great as an appetizer on bread too. I call it gourmet mac and cheese and the kids are fooled! 

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword pesto, vegetarian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Christa

Ingredients

For the pesto

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tight-packed cup spinach leaves
  • 4 tight-packed tablespoons fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons red onion
  • 1/3 cup shelled salted pistachios or almonds
  • 2 tablespoons good-tasting extra-virgin olive oil

For the pasta

  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups macaroni
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella
  • 8 cups boiling salted water
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 2 TB fine chopped red onion

Instructions

  1. Start by boiling the water for your pasta. You can make the pesto ahead of time too and then just make the pasta when you are ready to eat as well, just omit the pasta steps below.

    While it’s boiling, you can start to create the pesto. On your cutting board place the salt and pepper in the middle, and put the garlic cloves on top. Fine chop the garlic while mixing it with the salt and pepper. Next you will pile the basil, spinach, and red onion, and continue to chop, blending chopping until everything is very fine. Add the pistachios to the mix, and chop them coarsely. Your final step is to blend in the olive oil right onto the board with the rest of the ingredients.

    Once the water is boiling, add in your pasta and cook for 10-11 minutes.

    Before draining the pasta, set aside about one cup of the pasta water. You will use this to finish the pesto. Drain the pasta and set it aside.

    In the same pot where you cooked the pasta, add 1 tb olive oil and the rest of the fine chopped red onion. Saute the onion for about a minute, stirring constantly. Add the pesto- and just get it to warm. The language from the original recipe says “Warm it for only a few seconds over medium heat to let the flavors blossom—do not cook it.” (I love that phrase!) Add about 1/2 cup of the pasta water and then stir in the pasta and cheese. Let the cheese melt a big more if you like. You can add more pasta water if it seems too dry. We serve with lemon garlic shrimp and a super food salad.

    I love this recipe because it is super yummy, but also because it can be eaten hot or cold, so it’s perfect for a picnic. It saves well in the fridge and only gets better with age. Buen provecho- yum!

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