Pistachio Pesto Pasta

Don’t let summer end without making this simple vegan pistachio pesto pasta. Other than fresh basil, all you need are a few pantry staples like pasta, pistachios, and olive oil to make this delicious pasta dish.

vegan pistachio pesto pasta

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It has been ages since I posted a pasta recipe here on the blog! This vegan pistachio pesto pasta is deceptively simple but so delicious. I need to get my hands on some more fresh basil so that I can make it again. As summer wraps up here in Chicago-land, this felt like the perfect dish for using the last of that basil plant you may have on your porch/yard.

Is Pesto Usually Vegan?

Traditional pesto recipes usually include parmesan cheese so they are not vegan. The pistachio pesto in this recipe is vegan since we left out the cheese. Instead, this pesto gets a lot of flavor from the pistachios and olive oil. Some people add nutritional yeast to their vegan pesto to add that “cheesy” flavor from the parmesan, but I felt this pesto was flavorful enough without it. Plus, I find when you add nutritional yeast to pesto it loses some of the bright green color.

vegan pistachio pesto pasta

What You’ll Need to Make this Recipe

  • Fettuccine Pasta: You can use whichever pasta shape you prefer, but I really liked fettuccine with this pesto recipe. Bump up the protein by using a bean/legume based pasta. To make it gluten free, use a gluten free pasta.
  • Fresh Basil: Fresh basil is best for pesto. Look for leaves that haven’t wilted.
  • Pistachios: I love using pistachios in vegan savory recipes like this pesto pasta as well as my easy vegan parmesan. Traditional pesto usually calls for pine nuts which you could use here or you could sub walnuts for the pistachios.
  • Olive Oil: This is really the best oil to use for pesto – I wouldn’t recommend subbing a different oil here.
  • Lemon: The little bit of fresh lemon juice in this pesto really just adds a hit of brightness and evens out the richness from the olive oil. You’ll also add just a little lemon zest at the end when serving for another hint of bright lemon flavor.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic cloves are preferred, but you can use 1 teaspoon granulated garlic instead.
  • Salt and Black Pepper

Make-Ahead and Storage Tips

  • Make-Ahead: You can easily make the pesto ahead of time and store it in a covered jar or Tupperware container in the fridge for up to a week. When ready to use, just toss with your cooked pasta.
  • Store: Leftover pistachio pesto pasta can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days and can be reheated in the microwave when ready to eat.

How to Serve this Pistachio Pesto Pasta

To round out the meal, pair this pistachio pesto pasta with a protein like vegan sausage or toss in some canned chickpeas. You could also use a bean or legume based pasta to bump up the protein in the final dish and serve with a tossed salad or cooked vegetable.

More Pasta Recipes You’ll Love

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Vegan pistachio pesto pasta

Pistachio Pesto Pasta

  • Author: Dietitian Debbie
  • Prep Time: 10 Min
  • Cook Time: 15 Min
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Category: Main Dish, Pasta
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian-Inspired
  • Diet: Vegan


Don’t let summer end without making this simple vegan pistachio pesto pasta. Other than fresh basil, all you need are a few pantry staples like pasta, pistachios, and olive oil to make this delicious pasta dish.


  • 8 oz fettuccine pasta noodles
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 24 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup pistachios, unsalted
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • To serve: lemon zest, black pepper, basil leaves


  1. Add water to a large saucepan and salt generously. Bring to a boil and add pasta. Cook according to package directions, reserving ~1/4 cup pasta water for the pesto.
  2. Add all of the pesto ingredients to a food processor (basil, garlic, pistachios, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper). Pulse until thick sauce forms.
  3. Toss cooked pasta in the pesto. Add about 1-3 tablespoons reserved pasta water as needed to thin the pesto as you toss to coat the noodles. 
  4. To serve, sprinkle with more black pepper and some fresh lemon zest. 


We love using our NutriBullet magic bullet kitchen express food processor for the pesto in this recipe. Love that it can be tossed in the dishwasher to clean and take up less counter space than a traditional food processor. Use code DIETITIANDEBBIE to get 15% off your purchase!


  • Serving Size: 1/4 recipe
  • Calories: 510 kcal
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Sodium: 290 mg
  • Fat: 33.5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.5 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 29 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 46 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 10 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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Pistachio Pesto Pasta