Springtime means pea shoots are in! Through the spring and summer, if you're looking to switch up your pesto game, this pea shoot pesto will delight you! Better yet, it just takes fifteen minutes to make!
The post contains helpful tips and tricks to make sure you're successful in your first attempt. But if you're in a rush, please use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end!
💭 Why you'll love this recipe
- Super simple, fifteen minute recipe: This recipe takes all of five minutes - throw some stuff in a food processor, and you're basically done
- Switch up your pesto game! I love a good Genovese pesto, and in the winter, I almost always have some of my vegan kale pesto. But springtime means it's time for pea pesto!
- Nutritious, hearty and delicious all at once. Pea shoots have dietary fiber, vitamins A, C and E, and potassium, so they're actually great from a nutrition standpoint!
📋 Ingredients and notes
You'll need pea shoots, toasted nuts (I use pistachios here but check notes below for substitution), garlic cloves, olive oil, salt and pepper for this pea shoot pesto. If you eat cheese, you can also add some vegetarian parmesan for additional umami flavors!
Notes and Variations
- Pea shoots vs. spring greens: I have a local farmers' market where we get tons of pea shoots in the spring and summer. If you don't have access to pea shoots, you can actually use any light, leafy spring green or herbs in this recipe! Oh, you can also add some actual peas to the recipe for additional spring-y flavors!
- Pistachios vs. other nuts: This recipe is vegan as written, so I like using pistachios or pine nuts since it really amplifies the umami flavor profiles without using cheese. That said, you can use walnuts, cashews, or any other nuts - toasted and untoasted both work! If you buy the salted version, don't add any additional salt while pulsing.
- Burst of acid: Occasionally I'll add a good squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice into the pesto when I want a nice burst of acid! Or you can do this when you serve the pasta!
📖 Step-by-step instructions
Toast the nuts (if not already toasted)
Preheat the oven to 350F. Then throw a cup of pistachios, pine nuts, or nuts of choice on a baking sheet and then pop them in the oven for about 5 to 10 minutes.
Toasting nuts really amplifies the nutty flavor in delicious ways. However, if you're time crunched, you can skip the step or buy pre-toasted nuts from a grocery aisle!
Process the pea shoot pesto
Add chopped pea shoots, toasted nuts and garlic cloves (and cheese if you're using that) with salt and pepper to a food processor bowl. Pulse until you get to a coarse consistency.
Then, if your food processor has a chute through which you can add stuff while it pulses, add olive oil slowly and continue to pulse until you get to a smooth consistency. If it doesn't have a chute, then add olive oil one tablespoon at a time and continue to pulse.
Psst: You can also add frozen, fresh or blanched peas to this pesto to amplify the flavors and take it from a pea shoot pesto to a pea pesto!
🍴 Serving and storage suggestions
This pea shoot pesto can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days. Then, I put it on everything. Seriously, delicious pesto pastas, sandwiches, pesto salads - the world is your oyster. To start with, check out this mouthwatering pea shoot pesto pasta with roasted oyster mushrooms - nothing screams springtime more than this pasta!
If you love pesto, don't forget to check out some of these other recipes!
Pea Shoot Pesto
- Food Processor
- 3 cups pea shoots or pea tendrils, can substitute with any spring leafy green
- ½ cup pistachios, shelled, toasted, unsalted
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, you can use up to ¼ cup based on the consistency you prefer!
- Preheat oven to 350°F and place a cup of shelled pistachios on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for about 10 minutes to bring out flavors. Alternatively, you can also buy pre-toasted, shelled (and unsalted) pistachios from your grocery aisle - even in the bulk section! See recipe notes for nut substitutions.
- Add 3 cups of pea shoots, 1 cup of toasted nuts, 3 garlic cloves, a teaspoon of salt, and half a teaspoon of ground black pepper to a food processor bowl and pulse until you get to a coarse consistency.
- Now, through the chute of your food processor, slowly add olive oil as you continue to pulse until it reaches desired consistency. Alternatively, you can add in a tablespoon of olive oil at a time if your food processor doesn't have a chute.
- You can substitute pistachios with walnuts, pine nuts, or any nuts of your choice. If you're nut-free you can also use a seed like sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds! If you're only able to get salted pistachios, no worries - just don't add additional salt!
- The recipe is vegan as written, but if you consume cheese, adding parmesan gives this an extra flavor kick!
- You can use anywhere from 2 tablespoons to ¼ cup of olive oil in this recipe depending on how you like your pesto consistency!
- You can also add a cup of peas (frozen, fresh or blanched) to the pesto while blending for additional flavor!