How to make pesto sauce

How to Make Pesto Sauce + 15-Minute Pistachio Pesto Pasta Recipe

Learn how to make pesto sauce that's VEGAN but still SUPER creamy and loaded with flavor + options to make it oil-free + a recipe for 15-minute pistachio pesto pasta!
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian, Vegan
Keyword easy vegan dinner, pesto
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 360kcal
Author Stacey Eckert


Avocado Pistachio Pesto -


  • All of the avocado pistachio pesto sauce that you just made.
  • 1/2 cup hot pasta water (reserve 1 cup just in case)
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 5 oz package baby arugula
  • 16 oz orecchiette pasta


  • (Boil the water and cook the pasta while you make the pesto sauce.) Add the basil, pistachios, garlic, avocado, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth and creamy. If you have any trouble blending the ingredients, add 1 additional tbsp of olive oil (or water or non-dairy-milk). 
  • Pour the (drained) hot noodles into a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add all of the pesto sauce and stir to coat the noodles. If the pesto sauce is too thick, add 1/2 cup at a time of the reserved hot pasta water, it will help loosen the pesto sauce.
  • Add the cooked peas and arugula to the pan and stir to mix everything together. Leave the pan on the heat for 2-3 minutes to make sure everything is hot but not long enough that the arugula will wilt. 


  • You can substitute cashews, almonds, or walnuts for the pistachios. 
  • If you want to add a "cheesy" flavor to the pesto sauce, add 2 tsps of nutritional yeast. 
  • If you want to omit the oil from the pesto recipe, you can use water or unsweetened non-dairy milk instead (coconut, almond, or cashew).
  • You can use fresh, canned, or frozen green peas for the pasta recipe. Just make sure if you use frozen peas that you let them fully cook in the pan first before you add the pasta. 
  • You can substitute baby spinach or sliced kale for arugula. 
  • You do not have to use orecchiette pasta, you can use whatever you have on hand. I just like how the sauce fills up the little pockets. 
  • Before you drain the noodles, reserve 1 cup of the hot pasta water. I only used 1/2 cup but you might prefer the pesto sauce to be "saucier." 


Serving: 1g | Calories: 360kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 313mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 13.2% | Vitamin C: 20.5% | Calcium: 4.7% | Iron: 15.4%