Easy gluten free pasta with pistachio pesto recipe

Gluten Free Pasta with Pistachio Pesto Recipe

Ever had a gigantic craving for something then you go into the kitchen to whip it up only to find you lack the ingredients? Well, fortunately that very thing happened to me the other day.

I wanted gluten-free pasta with pesto. No, I didn’t want it – I had to have it! No choice in the matter whatsoever – my craving for pesto was bigger and more powerful than me; in fact my craving had taken on a life of its own.

Normally, pesto is one of those things I can whip up at a moments notice – the ingredients are usually just there, languishing in my kitchen, waiting for me. But not this day. I had used all my pine nuts making pignoli cookies and my little windowsill basil plant only had about 8 leaves on it. So off to the store I went.

I grabbed the only pine nuts I could find, a minuscule, Thumbalina –sized jar that cost $7.00! Seriously? $7.00 for maybe a couple tablespoons of pine nuts? Has someone been out there buying up all the pine nuts causing the price to soar? I don’t know, but I glanced at the next shelf and saw that I could get a decent sized bag of shelled pistachios for the same amount of money, so into my cart went the pistachios and off to the produce department for basil.

The only basil I could find was wilted and sad looking and again, much more expensive than a few leaves of something should be. OK, it is the dead of winter and not exactly basil growing weather so instead I grabbed a bag of baby spinach leaves and decided my 8 leaves of basil on the windowsill would have to suffice.

All of this craving/lack of ingredients/shopping dilemma lead me to discover a whole new pesto recipe, one that I love even more than traditional pesto. Not only was this pesto less expensive than my original recipe but it is also healthier – pistachios are much lower in saturated fat than pine nuts and as Popeye will tell you, spinach is good for you. But health and budget aside, this pesto is utterly delicious! In fact, this is my favorite pesto recipe ever! It is lighter, more complex and the color is fantastic.

Have you ever had a craving/lack of ingredients situation that lead to a new way to make a favorite recipe? Do share!

Click here to see my cooking demonstration of this recipe on Daytime TV!

Easy gluten free recipe   Pistachio Pesto with Gluten Free Pasta

5 from 1 vote
Easy gluten free pasta with pistachio pesto recipe
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Gluten Free Pasta with Pistachio Pesto Recipe

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 738kcal
Author: Gluten Free & More


  • 1 pound gluten free dried pasta
  • 1 cup unsalted shelled pistachios
  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • ½ cup basil leaves
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese - grated
  • Zest (finely grated) and juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼-1/3 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Optional garnishes:
  • Finely grated lemon zest
  • Grated or shaved Parmesan cheese


  • Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil and salt liberally. Add the dried pasta and cook according to the package directions. While the pasta is cooking, make the pesto.
  • Put the pistachios in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until the nuts are coarsely ground. Add the spinach, basil, Parmesan cheese, lemon zest and juice, pepper and ¼ cup olive oil. Process until smooth. If the pesto is too thick, add a little more olive oil. Taste and add a pinch of salt if desired.
  • Drain the pasta and return to the hot pot. Add the pesto and toss to coat the pasta.
  • Serve immediately with optional garnishes.


Nutrition Facts
Gluten Free Pasta with Pistachio Pesto Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 738 Calories from Fat 297
% Daily Value*
Fat 33g51%
Saturated Fat 6g30%
Cholesterol 8mg3%
Sodium 276mg12%
Potassium 413mg12%
Carbohydrates 92g31%
Fiber 5g20%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 21g42%
Vitamin A 1740IU35%
Vitamin C 5.7mg7%
Calcium 201mg20%
Iron 3.3mg18%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog owner’s. This blog accepts free manufacturers’ samples and forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. Affiliate links may be included in this post.

Disclaimer: All nutrition facts on Gluten Free & More are meant only as a guide and may differ depending on product brands used or ingredient substitutions. Some errors may occur, so you are encouraged to confirm the recipe’s ingredient and nutrition suitability for your own diet.
Have you tried this recipe? Give it a star rating and let us know your thoughts in the Ratings & Reviews section below.
Tags: Italian Pasta Pesto Pistachios Spinach
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  1. Joy
    February 1, 2011

    This sounds amazing – love that it is cheaper and healthier!

    1. February 2, 2011

      Me too!

  2. Gina Pelella
    February 1, 2011

    I love your recipes. I cannot wait to try this one!

    1. February 2, 2011

      I hope you love this recipe as much as I do – so quick & easy too!

  3. February 1, 2011

    What a creative solution. Your picture looks divine!

    1. February 2, 2011

      Thank you!

  4. February 2, 2011

    Good thinking! I’m glad you got your ‘fix’ and discovered a new classic at the same time. Yumm…

    1. February 2, 2011

      Thanks and yes, yum is right :)

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  6. Rahul
    February 2, 2011

    This was AWESOME – thanks so much!!!

    1. February 3, 2011

      You are very welcome Rahul!

  7. Sarah
    February 3, 2011

    I made this last night and it was fantastic! I agree, I like it better than the original. This was the best pesto I have ever eaten, the family loved it too. Thanks for the recipe!

  8. February 3, 2011

    Carol – this looks divine. And ya’ know, I was just looking at a bag of pistachios when I was at Costco the other day, and wondering if I could freeze them. I bet you can. Next time, I’m gonna get me some of those pistachios and make this delightful looking pesto! I am always looking for low-fat gluten free alternatives and I think this fits the bill. Yup!

    1. February 4, 2011

      Hi Ellen,

      Yes, pistachios freeze really well – I have a huge bag in my freezer right now!


  9. Paulette Alm
    March 15, 2011

    quite intriguing post

  10. June 10, 2011


  11. September 10, 2011

    Maybe thats why I like it much much more than the others

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