overhead view of pistachio pesto in a small white serving bowl

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Why I love this pistachio pesto recipe

I love a good pesto sauce. The flavor possibilities are endless, and they’re a great way to use up leftover greens. And, lately, I’ve found myself tossing containers of arugula and because I didn’t use them fast enough.

So when I knew I wasn’t going to get around to eating all the arugula leftover from my Mediterranean quinoa salad, I made this pesto sauce with arugula and pistachios.

The flavor is so different, and I love it. The sweetness of the pistachios balances so well with the peppery bite of the arugula, and it’s finished with a hint of sour lemon.

overhead view of spoon full of pistachio pesto over a small serving bowl

Here’s what you’ll need to make it

The best part about pesto is that you can make any changes you need and you’ll still end up with fantastic results. If you don’t have pistachios, you can always use almonds. Really any nut will work, but if you have the choice, the pistachio is just so good.

Close up of pistachio pesto in a small serving bowl with pistachios on top

How to make arugula pistachio pesto

Making pesto is really just a matter of putting things in the food processor and blending them. You can do it by hand, if you want, with a mortar and pestle, but I’ve never tried that myself since I don’t have one.

So place you ingredients into the food processor bowl and blend until smooth. It’s totally ok to have some chunks, if you want, but it will depend on how you want to use it.

I love this as a sauce for pizza, and it pairs really well with butternut squash. You can even spread it on crostini for a fun twist on bruschetta.

overhead view of pistachio and arugula pesto ingredients in a food processor before being blended

This recipe would be great with:

More pesto recipes you’ll love:

close up of pistachio pesto blended in a food processor

Pistachio Arugula Pesto

This easy, pistachio pesto provides a sweetness, that you can’t really achieve from other nuts. It’s perfect for your next pasta night, spread onto a sandwich or mixed into a tasty chicken salad. Ready in 5 minutes!

  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1/2 cups 1x


  • 1 cup pistachios (already out of the shell)
  • 2 packed cups arugula
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water (more if needed)


  1. Combine ingredients in a food processor, and blend until smooth.
  2. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary to thin the sauce to desired consistency.


  • Serving Size: 1 dollop
  • Calories: 179
  • Sugar: 1.4 g
  • Sodium: 291.5 mg
  • Fat: 17.5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 5 g
  • Fiber: 1.7 g
  • Protein: 3.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Last Updated on November 12, 2021 by Melissa Belanger

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  1. I’ve made this pesto several times and it’s fabulous! We use it on pasta, as a sauce for veggie bowls and spreads for sandwiches. If you’re using salted pistachios, you can skip the extra salt.