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. My kids are loving pea tendrils from our farmers market. This pesto is such a great idea!

  2. jac from

    what a cool idea! my husband and i usually pesto kale and walnuts cause it’s usually what we have lying around ๐Ÿ™‚
    xo jac

  3. Kate from

    Pesto everything, I say! I’ve never tasted pea tendrils but this pesto sounds fantastic. Arugula pesto is one of my favorites and I have a bunch of kale destined to be pulverized for dinner soon.

  4. This looks like such a great spring time recipe! I’ve made pesto before with fresh peas – do the tendrils have a similar flavor? I’ve never tried them before, but they look great! And I’ve seen them at a local market, so I’ll have to pick some up!

    • jeanine

      they don’t have as strong of a pea flavor – they’re pretty neutral greens, just slightly sweet.

  5. Love this! What a brilliant pesto idea. I can imagine how bright the flavor must be. Perfect for spring – which I am desperately awaiting!

  6. Brittany from

    Such a beautiful color – it’s got me so excited for spring! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Laura from

    “I love pesto because anything can become pesto.” <— LOVING that. I've always felt the same way, but never totally realized it until I just read this. Pea shoots and pistachios! That sounds just about perfect right now.

    • jeanine

      thanks Laura ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. I have made a pea and pistachio pesto before but I never knew the tendrils were edible too!!! I gotta get on this recipe!

    • jeanine

      edible and pretty tasty!

  9. Emma from

    I love pea shoots. So mild and almost sweet!
    And pesto of course!

  10. Isadora from

    I’m pesto obsessed and pistachio obsessed so this sounds like the perfect combination! Maybe I’ll make some pea tendril & pistachio pesto pasta ๐Ÿ™‚

    • jeanine

      That actually was the original title of this post, the pasta photos just didn’t quite work out ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. sandra from

    what a sweet title for a sweet spring fresh recipe.

  12. Skye from

    What lovely flavours – a gorgeous twist on a classic.

  13. Eileen from

    Oh, I love the idea of using pea shoots in a pesto! There are huge piles of them at our farmer’s market right now, so I know what I’ll be doing next weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. I am pesto obsessed too, though I’ve never used pistachios in a pesto of mine I definitely will try it out!

  15. Kathryn from

    What a lovely spring-like pesto!

  16. Kristin from

    Oh this looks tasty and easy to make. I am so excited!

  17. When our peas start coming up at the farm I am definitely making this. Sounds fantastic. So creative!

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.