Pistachio Lemon Pesto by The Whole Cook vertical

A few weeks ago I shared a recipe for Pistachio Herb Crusted Salmon and it left me inspired to use those flavors for a pesto. OH MY. I am so happy I did. This Pistachio Lemon Pesto belongs on all the things.

Basil. Pistachios. Lemon. Garlic. Salt. Olive oil. You’re going to love it.

Even without the parmesan and pine nuts you find in classic pesto, this Pistachio Lemon Pesto tastes very much like a pesto. It’s just amped up a notch and it has so much vibrant lemon.

Why pistachios? Pine nuts have a much milder flavor. These pistachios stand out and add more depth to create a rich sauce.

Lemon. I adore lemon. (Not as much as my daughter who insists on licking a wedge whenever one is delivered with our water in a restaurant. She always regrets it but conveniently forgets that and insists on trying again each visit.) There’s enough lemon in this pesto so you can taste it and appreciate that yummy tartness.

Do you typically buy your pesto pre-made? Trust me, once you do it yourself you won’t go back. It’s so simple to toss everything in the blender. You’ll feel like a kitchen pro when you serve this up.

You won’t believe this Pistachio Lemon Pesto is Whole30 compliant, dairy free, gluten free, and vegan. Everyone can enjoy it without compromising their healthy lifestyle. Add to chicken, steak, fish, potatoes, roasted veggies, or pasta and you’ll have some very happy diners.

Pistachio Lemon Pesto by The Whole Cook horizontal bowl

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5 from 10 votes
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Pistachio Lemon Pesto

This Pistachio Lemon Pesto is vibrant, crazy delicious, and dairy free. Basil, pistachios, lemon, garlic... YUM. You'll be licking your spoon. Add it to steak, chicken, fish, pasta, or roasted veggies for a spectacular dish!


  • 3 cups packed fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, or 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, extra virgin


  • Add basil, pistachios, lemon juice, garlic, and salt to a food processor or high powered blender.
  • Turn on the blender and slowly pour in your olive oil. Blend until pistachios are no longer chunky and sauce is smooth. For a thick pesto 1/3 cup of olive oil is perfect. You can use up to 1/2 cup if you prefer a thinner consistency.


Use additional olive oil for a thinner consistency. 1/3 cup is perfect for a thick sauce that will stick to your steak, chicken, potatoes, etc.
Store any extra pesto in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
To freeze pesto for future recipes, pour into an ice cube tray. Freeze for at least 30 minutes. Pop out the pesto cubes and store in a freezer Ziploc bag or airtight container in freezer.


Serving: 1tbsp, Calories: 84kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 116mg, Potassium: 57mg, Vitamin A: 395IU, Vitamin C: 3.3mg, Calcium: 16mg, Iron: 0.4mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @thewholecook and hashtag it #thewholecook on Instagram.


Made this? If you share it on Instagram I’d love to see it! Tag me and I’ll check it out!

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