Recipe: Pea, Pistachio, and Mint “Pesto”

recipe - pea pesto with pistachio and mint

easy spring recipe - pea pesto with pistachio and mint

pea pesto with pistachio and mint

Random fun fact about Joe and me: we really like to watch cooking shows while we eat. I think this tradition was actually born in college, when all the roommates in this big house we lived in would gather around the common living room TV during lunch time, and Food Network was the only thing that was universally agreeable. After school, we went for years without watching much cooking-related TV, but recently have been on a kick again. We’ve been watching lots of old episodes of Everyday Italian, which totally take us back to that time, as many of the episodes have air dates in 2004 and 2005. Giada’s pea pesto is a classic, and I was thinking about it the other day for this season’s recipe swap.

You read that right! A bunch of other gals and I are swapping delicious spring-inspired recipe like we did with cookies last winter, so this recipe was a perfect inspirational starting point. It’s basically the easiest thing ever: throw ingredients into a food processor and blend. Serve with crackers, crostini, veggies. Toss with pasta or dab a dollop on top of roasted chicken. It’s delish. What I love about this “pesto” is how surprising it is, on so many levels. The peas lend a slight sweetness to it; the pistachios, a wonderful creaminess; the garlic, that spicy, savory edge. I promise, you will love this.

If you can find fresh peas, by all means, use them. Frozen peas are just going to be a lot easier — no shelling involved, and you can scoop what you need out of the bag, lightly defrost them in warm water, drain them, and they’re ready. Like many other dips and pestos, this one gets better as it sits, so if you can, make it about an hour before you serve. Here’s what you do:

Pea, Pistachio, and Mint “Pesto”

Makes about 1.5 cups of pesto
Inspired by Giada De Laurentiis’ Pea Pesto recipe, though the below is my own reinterpretation

1/4 cup packed mint leaves (about 15-20 leaves)
1/4 cup shelled, roasted, salted pistachios
1 clove of garlic
1 cup of frozen peas, thawed
Juice of half a lemon
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
— kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients except the salt and pepper in a food processor. Blend and pulse until the pesto is smooth, but still has a bit of texture, like a hummus or regular basil pesto. Taste — you will need to add salt and pepper, but the amount of salt can really vary based on how salty the pistachios are. Season appropriately, transfer to a serving dish, and cover and chill until you’re ready to serve. Just before serving, drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the top, and if you like, garnish with a sprig of mint.

Note: the measurement for the pistachios indicates nuts that were already shelled.

Springtime Recipe Swap!

Don’t forget to stop by these lovely ladies’ blogs and check out their recipes:

Clara Persis: Orechiette with Kale Walnut Pesto & Lemon Broiled Asparagus
Lemon Stripes: Paleo Strawberry Ice Cream
The Average Girls Guide: Strawberry Avocado Tacos
House of Earnest: Lemon Petit Fours


Images and recipe by Victoria McGinley for vmac+cheese


  1. 4.16.14

    Ooooo! I was going to make regular pesto tonight, but I’m definitely going to try pea pesto instead. Fun! xo Kristina

  2. 4.16.14
    Alyssa said:

    This looks delicious, Victoria! (And easy! #bonus) I can’t wait to make it. :)

  3. 4.16.14

    I’m a big fan of the Food Network, too!! This has always look delish to me.

  4. 4.16.14

    Love this recipe, thanks for sharing.

  5. 4.16.14

    Hello, amazing! I need to try this recipe ASAP.

  6. 4.17.14
    Lily said:

    Looks absolutely delicious! love pea hummus too.

    x Lily

  7. 4.23.14
    Alexandra said:

    Hooooo I am sotrying this recipe this week! This looks amazing! Xo, Alexandra

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