This healthy pistachio pesto sauce is not only a delicious sauce, but is a great way to use up extra greens. You can also freeze it in an ice tray to use on a day you’re strapped for time.
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How it Fits into My Lifestyle
Ok, real talk here. My cousins, well really second cousins, lived a block from me for one year growing up. That year was one of those years that my family needed family near by. It was also the only year we had family near by. Life is crazy and amazing that way. Anyways, sometime during that year, my aunt made this pesto pasta salad and my mom became obsessed with it. She made it at least once or more than once each week. Now that may be normal for you, but my mom rarely made or makes something more than once a month. We ate this pasta salad so much! Like SO MUCH, so much that I really hated pesto for years, even though the pasta was actually good. But you get the story.
Fast forward to now, ya know, post college, actually making food for myself, I find myself trying to reduce food waste, trying to save money, and still trying to eat deliciously…. I found out that pesto can be a great way to use up herbs & greens so they don’t go bad. I tried my hand at making pesto, hoping the 15+ years since my last pesto experience was enough time. Luckily it was. A few near misses later, I’d found a few flavor combos that I adore. ya, adore.
Outside of the normal basil, pine nut, blah blah blah pesto, I was ready to expand my horizons. I found an abundance of spinach, some about-to-go-bad mint leaves, and A TON of pistachios in my pantry, because, really they’re not only delicious and beautiful, but they are a great protein source and cracking them out of their shells can help you be more mindful.. more on that later.
So, obviously, I was ready to combine a few of my favorite ingredients into something completely different: Wonderful pistachios, greens, good olive oil, citrus, and fresh herbs. I had to expand my pesto repertoire and ended up making a delicious pistachio pesto pasta salad.
How Pistachios Make Your Life Easier
In-Shell Pistachios are known as The Mindful NutTM because they may help you “fool yourself full” because the leftover shells may provide a visual cue for portions, potentially helping to curb intake. We call this the Pistachio Principle. One preliminary behavioral study found that participants who consumed in-shell pistachios ate 41-percent fewer calories compared to those who consumed pistachios without the shell. Those who chose the “no shells” pistachios consumed an average of 211 calories, while those who chose the in-shell variety consumed an average of 125 calories, suggesting that empty shells may provide a visual cue for portions, potentially helping curb intake.
While I’m no fan of talking about calories, using it as a measure in this way can be helpful. Anything that slows down our eating can allow us eat an amount that’s more appropriate for our needs at that time, all without feeling deprived. Because often eating mindfully, and cracking nuts out of their shells in this instance, is fun and satisfying.
They’re also a great nut to add to any pesto recipe. They’re beautiful and green/purple which means that they will enhance the green pesto color, they’re slightly salty, and pair well with mint, basil, and everything that goes into a good ‘ole pesto.
This pesto, in particular is also fantastic because you can make as big of a batch as you need, and freeze what you don’t need right away. That will help you reduce food waste, and make a really delicious & easy meal when you’re strapped for time.
Use this pesto to make this delicious pasta with pistachio pesto sauce
or top chicken, a salad, or salmon with it.
Quick Notes on This Recipe
- Use up leftover greens with this delicious light pesto sauce to top pasta, chicken, or as a bright & flavorful salad dressing. You can also add it to plain hummus for a delicious snack (also for post: show freezer ready…. and do video)
- If using a high powered blender, like the Blendtec I use, don’t half the recipe. The blade needs enough greens or ingredients to work with. If you don’t make much, the nuts and greens won’t get chopped at all.
- If freezing, freeze in an ice tray, then transfer cubes to a bag. I’ve tried to freeze it in a jar & just in a bag, and that’s not ideal for smaller meals.
Healthy Pistachio Pesto Sauce
- cutting board
- Measuring Spoons
- Measuring Cups
- High Powered Blender/Food Processor
- 1 cup Wonderful Pistachios (4 ounces)
- 4 cups fresh spinach stems removed
- 1 cup basil leaves
- 1/4 cup mint leaves
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Add all ingredients to food processor or high powered blender. Mix together until smooth. Add more olive oil if it's too dry for you.