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A Versatile and Healthy Pistachio Pesto

Carol Kicinski's picture
By: Carol Kicinski : February 11, 2012

Pesto is a simple and versatile sauce that anyone can master. It can be used to toss with pasta, spooned over tomatoes for a simple salad or as a topping for meat, fish or poultry. I even like it as a sophisticated dip for fresh veggies.

This pesto is made with pistachios and spinach which makes it an even healthier pesto option. Pistachios contain less fat per serving than any other nut, are cholesterol free, packed with protein and nutrients and much more economical than they typical pesto ingredient of pine nuts. They also happen to add incredible flavor!

To stretch our pesto budget even further (and increase the health benefit) fresh spinach is added along with some fresh basil and the use of lemon juice degreases the amount of oil needed. The color is fabulous and the flavor explodes in your mouth!

Gluten Free Pistachio Pesto Recipe
by Carol Kicinski

Ingredients

1 cup salted shelled pistachios
2 cups spinach leaves
½ cup basil leaves
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
Zest (finely grated) and juice of 1 lemon
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ - 1/3 cup olive oil
Kosher salt to taste

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil and salt liberally. Add the dried pasta and cook according to the package directions. While the pasta is cooking, make the pesto.

Put the pistachios in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until the nuts are coarsely ground. Add the spinach, basil, parmesan cheese, lemon zest and juice, pepper and ¼ cup olive oil. Process until smooth. If the pesto is too thick, add a little more olive oil. Taste and add a pinch of salt if desired.

Drain the pasta and return to the hot pot. Add the pesto and toss to coat the pasta.

Serve immediately with optional garnishes.

Serves 4 – 6.