Pea Tendril & Pistachio Pesto

pea tendril pistachio pesto / pea tendril pistachio pesto /

I’m pesto obsessed. I love pesto because anything can become pesto. I brought home these sweet pea tendrils from the farmers market the other day… I didn’t know quite what to do with them so I pesto-ed them. I usually reach for walnuts but I loved the spring color of the pistachios… plus, I just couldn’t resist the alliteration.

Pea tendrils have a mild flavor that’s slightly sweet, which makes for nice mellow pesto. If you can’t find them, you can still make a nice pistachio pesto out of spinach, arugula, basil, or mint… whatever combination of soft greens and herbs you like. This lasts in the fridge for about 3 days – I put it on toast, mixed it into pasta, and added it to a few lunchtime kale salads. Pesto possibilities are endless!

pea tendril & pistachio pesto

Serves: about 1.5 cups
  • heaping ½ cup pistachios, chopped & toasted
  • a few big handfuls of pea tendrils (or any mild soft leafy green)
  • zest & juice of 1 small lemon
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil (a few tablespoons to ¼ cup)
  • optional: handful of fresh basil or mint
  • optional: grated parmesan cheese
  1. In a food processor, pulse together everything except for the olive oil. Drizzle the oil in slowly while the blade is running. Add as much or little olive oil as you want. Less oil will make a chunkier pesto, more olive oil will make it more smooth.
  2. Taste and adjust seasonings.
to save time, look for raw shelled pistachios (in the bulk section of some stores).


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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Ginger

    I think this a very nice recipe. No alterations were made. I used a food processor after my blender was clearly not up to the job. Delicious.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Ginger, I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

  2. mainesol

    I was at the farmers market Saturday and came across a beautiful bundle of pea tendrils. I brought it home not knowing what I was going to do with them. I found this recipe and happened to have all the ingredients so I chose it. What a delightful pesto! I am going back next Saturday and will be very disappointed if they don’t have the tendrils again. I want to make a batch to freeze for winter bliss.

  3. Heya i’m for the first time here. I came across this board
    and I find It truly useful & it helped me out much. I hope
    to give something back and aid others like you helped me.

  4. sara from

    Yum!! i love new ideas for pesto. i just made my cilantro lime jalapeño pesto, so good!

    • jeanine

      me too, definitely…

  5. I am also pesto obsessed. Especially because anything can become dinner with pesto. Yet to try pistachio pesto, bet its good.

    • Alicia

      I made this tonight after wondering what to do with all of the pea tendrils I had. This was amazing! I added it to chickpea pasta along with cherry tomatoes and basil. So good! Can’t wait to use it as a dip for crackers or veggies too! Thank you,

      • Alicia

        I forgot to rate the recipe-5 stars for sure!

  6. What a great recipe, once again! I still have some pea tendrils sitting in my fridge (I made a spring risotto with peas, asparagus, & pea tendrils yesterday) and this pesto would definitely be a great way to use them. Honestly, I’m so excited by this recipe! Can’t wait to try it.

    • jeanine

      Thanks Sini! I did a pea tendril risotto also (with this batch) – so delicious!

  7. Lauren from

    Thank you for this gorgeous inspiration.
    Completely inspired me tonight while making another dish (Israeli couscous with asparagus and sugar snap peas recipe on epicurious). I had pea shoots and macadamia nuts so substituted those for the tendrils and pistachios. Delicious. We all finished our plates (even my toddlers), for once sad there are no leftovers. This recipe is definitely going into my go to file.

    • jeanine

      omg, that sounds delicious – I’ll have to try using macadamia nuts sometime…

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.