Cilantro Pistachio Pesto (my favorite pesto ever!)

Flavorful cilantro pistachio pesto made with fresh cilantro, roasted pistachios, garlic, lime juice and a kick of heat from jalapeño. This easy pistachio pesto recipe comes together in just five minutes and is delicious on pasta, chicken, fish and more. Skip the store bought pesto for good!

Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
0 mins
Total Time
5 mins

Does anyone remember my very famous street corn pasta salad? Well that’s exactly where this incredible cilantro pesto is adapted from (the original version uses cashews). It’s vibrant, herby, fresh, flavorful and unbelievable on just about anything you can dream up. In fact, I even put it on my date night shrimp pasta and it was UNREAL and tasted like something straight out of a restaurant.

The best part about this cilantro pesto? You can easily sub cashews, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds or even sunflower seeds for the pistachios.

vegan cilantro pistachio pesto in a jar with a spoon

Pistachio pesto ingredients

You’re going to love how easy and flavorful this cilantro pistachio pesto recipe is with just a handful of simple ingredients. It’s actually made without basil or pine nuts! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Fresh cilantro: many traditional pesto recipes use basil in their ingredients but we’re mixing it up with fresh cilantro aka my life blood.
  • Roasted pistachios: pistachios add a wonderful nutty flavor in place of traditional pine nuts.
  • Jalapeño: add a kick of heat with jalapeño, or feel free to omit if you’re sensitive to spice.
  • Garlic: garlic is a must for pesto recipes.
  • Lime juice: a squeeze of fresh lime juice adds a lovely brightness to the pistachio pesto.
  • Oil: you’ll just need a couple tablespoons of olive oil or avocado oil to be able to blend up the pesto nicely.
  • Salt & pepper: to bring out all of the flavors.
  • Water: to thin the pistachio pesto a bit.

This healthy pistachio pesto recipe also happens to be vegan and dairy free because there is no cheese involved like in traditional pesto recipes!

ingredients for cilantro pistachio pesto in the bowl of a food processor

How to make cilantro pistachio pesto

  1. Add all of your ingredients to the bowl of a food processor: cilantro, pistachios, jalapeño, garlic cloves, lime juice, olive oil, water and salt and pepper.
  2. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides and processing again, if necessary. Done!

healthy pistachio pesto in a food processor

How to store this cilantro pistachio pesto

In the refrigerator: keep this healthy pesto recipe in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. If you’re finding that it’s thickening up a lot, feel free to drizzle in some more olive oil or a bit of water.

In the freezer: yes, you can actually freeze a batch of this pistachio pesto for later! One trick is to add it to an ice tray to create little pesto cubes that can be used later. You can also simply add it to a freezer-safe container or bag and pop it in the freezer for up to one month.

bowl of pasta topped with cilantro pistachio pesto

Ways to use cilantro pistachio pesto

This incredibly fresh and easy pistachio pesto recipe is wonderful on your favorite proteins, pasta and even salads. Here are some of my favorite recipes to use it with:

I hope you love this easy cilantro pistachio pesto recipe! If you make it, be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. I really appreciate it – xo!

Cilantro Pistachio Pesto

5 from 2 votes
vegan cilantro pistachio pesto in a jar with a spoon
Course Condiments, Dairy Free, Sauce, Vegan, Vegetarian
Cuisine Italian
Keyword cilantro pistachio pesto, vegan pistachio pesto
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Serves 4

Flavorful cilantro pistachio pesto made with fresh cilantro, roasted pistachios, garlic, lime juice and a kick of heat from jalapeño. This easy pistachio pesto recipe comes together in just five minutes and is delicious on pasta, chicken, fish and more. Skip the store bought pesto for good!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup packed fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup shelled roasted pistachios
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 3 tablespoons avocado or olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons water, to thin pesto
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Add all of your ingredients to the bowl of a food processor: cilantro, pistachios, jalapeño, garlic cloves, lime juice, olive oil, water and salt and pepper. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides and processing again, if necessary. Serves 4.

Recipe Notes

Not into pistachios: you can easily sub cashews, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds or even sunflower seeds for the pistachios. I love cashews best!

Nutrition
Servings: 4 servings
Serving size: 1 serving (based on 4)
Calories: 180kcal
Fat: 17g
Saturated fat: 2.2g
Carbohydrates: 5.6g
Fiber: 1.9g
Sugar: 1.5g
Protein: 3.4g

Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats

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