Asparagus Pistachio Pesto

Put a fun twist on your pesto! You can make pesto from almost any leafy green but this pesto made from blanched asparagus, basil, pistachios, Parmesan and a little lemon zest is so fresh, so green, and delicious diversion from a typical basil pesto. We love it with grilled fish, or just spread over toasted bread. Sooooo yum!

When pesto comes to mind, we usually think of basil pesto, but whatever vegetable or green you use, it’s an uncooked condiment that’s made with garlic, nuts and Parmesan cheese, You can find pesto made from an array of different veggies, including: basil, cilantro, arugula, mint, or even sun-dried tomatoes! It’s a great way to make use of your garden harvest and pesto can also be frozen, so you can relive these delicious summer veggies all winter long.

Asparagus Pistachio Pesto

Blanched asparagus, basil, pistachios, Parmesan and lemon zest come together in this bright and tasty pesto to complement fish or meat or as a condiment to spread over grilled bread.
Servings 2 Cups
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute


  • 1 lb. asparagus trimmed and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup roasted and salted pistachios
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt or Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil


  • To blanch the asparagus, bring a pot of water to a boil. (I like to use a pasta pot with a strainer inside.) Once the water is boiling, add the asparagus pieces all at once and blanch until bright green and tender-crisp, approximately 45 seconds to one minute. Remove asparagus from the boiling water by lifting the pasta strainer out of the pot, (or you can remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon or strainer), and place the pieces in the bowl of ice water. Once cool, drain well and dry on paper towels. Set aside.
  • Add the pistachio nuts, asparagus pieces, basil and cheese to a food processor. Pulse the processor several times until the mixture is chopped to your desired texture. You will want to see small bits of asparagus and pistachios, so be careful not to over puree the pesto.
  • Add the extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, lemon pepper, white pepper, and salt. Using a microplane zester, zest the lemon directly into the bowl and pulse a few times, just until combined.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use. Will last in the refrigerator for several days up to a week. It can also be frozen for later use.


This pesto is fabulous as a condiment for fish or meat, or spread on grilled country bread, and it also makes a delicious pasta sauce! If you find you have a lot of asparagus on hand, double or triple the batch and freeze what you don’t use for a later time. 
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: asparagus recipes, pesto

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