Garlic Pistachio Pesto

Posted on by on May 23rd, 2012 | 43 Comments »

I fear my garlic habit is going to lead way to me using up my 5.5 kilos I have of it drying in my attic way sooner than anticipated. First there was the caramelized garlic tart (which I have made more than once, obviously). Then the garlic knots, and now this. Not to mention the daily use of a clove or two in some dish or other. Perhaps its the pregnancy or maybe its just my undying love for the pungent bulbs, either way, I cant seem to get enough of it.

And, as if I need another reason to eat more garlic, fellow blogger Andrea wrote and told me that if you eat a lot of garlic and vanilla during your pregnancy, your baby will recognize and love those two tastes later on in life. I’m not sure about vanilla but my daughter is well on her way to becoming a garlic addict for sure if thats true. Maybe thats why she has been kicking so much in there, she wants more garlic.

Pesto is one of those loved condiments that people pile on pasta, spread on bread and eat with grilled veggies. Commonly made using garlic, basil, toasted pine nuts, olive oil and parmesan cheese, pesto is simple, easy to make at home and delicious. In my version of this classic Italian paste, I started off with a very garlicy base and substituted pistachio nuts for pine nuts. I omitted the parmesan cheese (for a healthier take) and used a Meyer lemon olive oil. This is not your mother’s pesto. Filled with garlic, thick and delicious, this pesto has a bit of spiciness from the garlic, citrus from the Meyer lemon olive oil and that same loved pesto taste from the nuts and basil.

I spread it on bread for a grilled vegetable sandwich (post coming soon) and it was incredible. Since then my husband and I have been eating it smeared on crackers with cheese. Mix into pastas, pile on sandwiches or add some cream to make a creamy pesto sauce. Any way you eat it, you are sure to love it.


8 garlic cloves
2 bunches of fresh basil
1 cup pistachio nuts
1 cup Meyer lemon olive oil (you can use any lemon infused olive oil)
salt and pepper to taste


In a food processor pulse garlic until it becomes paste like.
Add in pistachio nuts and pulse until nuts are coarsely chopped (some larger pieces are ok) and combines with the garlic.
Scrape down sides of processor if needed and add basil.
Process until all ingredients come together then slowly add half the olive oil while processing, making the mixture into a nice paste.
Add more of the olive oil to achieve desired consistency.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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  1. Posted on: 5-23-2012

    Wow this garlicky pesto sounds awesome, and you will share the grilled vegetable sandwich? I can’t wait! Looks so good… we’ve been eating sandwiches lately (my son is into pesto that’s why), so this recipe came in right time!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-25-2012

      If your son loves pesto this is perfect!!! He will love it just as much as the usual pesto. And, if he loves garlic then he maybe will even love it more 🙂 I will be posting the sandwich recipe in the next day or two!

  2. Posted on: 5-23-2012

    I add garlic into almost every savoury dishes I make and for Indian food, its a must. I have never made pesto before but it sure looks so tempting. I think for us instead of on biscuits or crackers, this will be perfect a side dish and eaten with rice. Lovely pics all the way.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-25-2012

      I never even thought to put it with rice but I think thats a really great idea. It would probably be delicious!!

  3. Posted on: 5-23-2012

    Thanks for all those wonderful words Beth. This recipe for pesto looks awesome. I loved your elegant presentation. Very happy to follow you 🙂

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-25-2012

      Thanks Nandita! I love your blog and so happy to follow you as well!

  4. Posted on: 5-23-2012

    In pesto! Fabulous. I make a pistachio mole…but pesto! Yay!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-25-2012

      Pesto mole sounds awesome Connie!! May have to try that next 🙂

  5. Posted on: 5-23-2012

    I cook with garlic almost ever day. This pesto looks delish!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-25-2012

      Garlic is the best!! You’ll love this!

  6. Posted on: 5-24-2012

    This sounds FANTASTIC. I myself am a huge garlic lover. I use it in just about everything. I really love the use of pistachios in this pesto as well.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-25-2012

      Thanks Colleen! If you’re a garlic lover this is a must try, you will love it!

  7. Posted on: 5-24-2012

    Wow! pistachios and garlic together…. what a tasty twist…..i will make walnut and some time cashew pesto but never try with this… super!!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-25-2012

      I have made a walnut pesto before too and love it. I think this is my new favorite though. Its amazing how fast the jar of it went.

  8. Posted on: 5-24-2012

    I LOVE pesto! And the addition of pistachios is a great idea! Oh, and garlic, you can never have too much garlic! 🙂

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-25-2012

      Agreed. The more garlic the better!

  9. Posted on: 5-24-2012

    love this…….i add garlic in almost all my savoury dishes…….haven’t tried making pesto with pistachio……looks amazing.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-25-2012

      I think garlic is a must in most savory dishes! This was the first time I have made pesto with pistachio and it was amazing!

  10. Posted on: 5-24-2012

    What a stunning pesto – adding garlic must really increase its taste dimensions 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-25-2012

      Thank you! The garlic is really essential for the taste in this pesto!

  11. Posted on: 5-24-2012

    Oh my gosh, this looks (and sounds!) amazing! I don’t think it would make it to crackers or sandwiches if I made it–I’d be eating it with a spoon. 🙂

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-25-2012

      Thanks Kiersten! I have definitely eaten this with a spoon when the crackers ran out 🙂

  12. Posted on: 5-25-2012

    Love this post – so much so that I’m featuring it in this week’s Food Fetish Friday series (with a link-back and attribution). I hope you have no objections and I’m always inspired by your creations… Thanks so much for sharing.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-25-2012

      No objections at all! Thank you, I will be sure to go and check it out!

  13. Posted on: 5-25-2012

    Oh I LOVE the idea of pesto with pistachios!! pure genius!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-29-2012

      Thank you!! The taste is amazing.

  14. Posted on: 5-26-2012

    Perfect pesto. Love it.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-29-2012

      Thanks Christine!

  15. Posted on: 5-26-2012

    Beth, pistachios in pesto look and sound terrific, your photos sure look so appetizing, now if only the pistachios were a bit less pricey around here.

    Also, thank you very much for mentioning my comment and adding a link! I have told my hubby that since you confirmed to me that Yotam Ottolenghis books are amazing cookbooks, to please get me (al least one) for my next birthday. I cannot wait to receive one of those books and try out some of the recipes. And I am still hungry for the Caramelized Garlic Tart – we have a four day holiday weekend so he agreed to keep the kids a bit out of my way so that I can concentrate on making that tart again.

    Take care!

  16. BethMichelle
    Posted on: 5-29-2012

    I too wish pistachios were les pricey then they are, but every now and then its worth the splurge! I bet walnuts would be a tasty substitution to them! I hope you get one of Ottolenghi’s cookbooks (or 2)! So many amazing recipes he has to try out. A bunch of his recipes are free from the Guardian too!

  17. Posted on: 5-30-2012

    I bet this would taste sooooo delicious with sandwiches and especially pastas! It looks really amazing! I probably would have to give this a try! I love that it doesn’t require too many other ingredients too. Would love to see a pasta recipe with this! 😀

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-31-2012

      I used it on a grilled veggie sandwich, which I just posted! It would be amazing with pasta as well Im sure. Next time I make a batch that is what it will go into!

  18. Posted on: 5-31-2012

    Baby wants more garlic!!! Little Layla will surely be a garlic lover if we have anything to do with it 🙂 This looks so good! I love any kind of pesto, and the meyer lemon olive oil must have been a really special addition (not to mention the pistachios!)

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-31-2012

      Oh she is for sure obsessed by now and if not I’m sure you and I will change that come October! Garlic baby food perhaps? lol

  19. Posted on: 5-31-2012

    Pistachio in pesto sounds like a great idea – will be trying this very soon!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-31-2012

      They work so well!! I hope you enjoy it!

  20. Posted on: 6-15-2012

    I love pistachios and I adore garlic – I’m so hooked on this pesto. …and I’m not even pregnant! 🙂

  21. Posted on: 6-18-2012

    This is a wonderful pesto variation. Thanks for the recipe–I’ve been looking for different ways to use up all my fresh basil. I think even hubs would like this! 😀

  22. Josh
    Posted on: 8-20-2012

    Caiti and I are going to make this tonight. Thinking about adding some parmesan. Throwing it over some rigatoni. looks really good as we both love pistachios!

  23. Josh
    Posted on: 12-1-2012

    our 5th time making this tonight. Our favorite 🙂

  24. Josh
    Posted on: 4-1-2014

    Making this yet again. Throwing it in a sauce pan with some heavy cream some quartered cherry tomatoes to make it a creamy pesto to throw over some raviolis. YUM

    We want more blog posts

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