Pea and Pine Nut Pesto

This Pea and Pine Nut Pesto was an experiment when I was out of Basil; the results were fantastic and now it’s a regular at our table.

Spaghetti with Pea and Pine Nut Pesto

We were given peas as our challenge from The Food Network for this week’s #SensationalSides. Funny but the truth is I normally have peas as peas. There are the ONE frozen food that I always have on hand in my freezer and they are a favorite; both for the flavor, the color, and the ease of preparation. Making this Pea and Pine Nut Pesto was a leap of faith and one we absolutely loved!

I checked my archives and I’ve made Crispy Shallots Fried Rice that includes peas and a dish I now remember that we loved; Peas with Bacon and Crispy Leeks. So I thought there was room for another pea-centric dish and I’m so glad I gave this a try. Pea and Pine Nut Pesto was wonderful on Spaghetti and was also fantastic served on crostini as an appetizer.

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I’ve made a fair amount of basil pesto; even substituting out the pine nuts for toasted walnuts ever since pine nuts became as expensive as gold. But for this dish, I thought it worthy of hauling my stash out of the freezer and using the real deal. Luckily I got away with only using a quarter cup so this delicious dish won’t break the bank. If I didn’t have them? I would have no problem using the toasted walnuts here too.

Spaghetti with Pea and Pine Nut Pesto

I’m writing this post late for me; it’s this morning and I’m looking out the window and yet another late spring snow. My cat is in his cat tree by the window and my neighbor’s dog Spot is nestled into the blanket on the chair in my office. This dish is sort of a nice transition dish considering it’s spring AND snowing.

Light and pretty and filled with peas which seem to shout spring veggie but still warm and comforting enough for me to enjoy it while we wait for spring to peek around the corner at the base of the Rocky Mountains. It takes longer to get here and yes, I’m ready!

Pea Pesto Crostini

When I decided to make a Pea Pesto, I did what I often do and did a quick search online when I was finished and found a similar recipe. Try making something totally new and different to you that no one has ever thought of…it’s almost impossible!

But one person did have a great idea I decided to incorporate into my plans. Since I finished the pesto last night and wanted to use it with spaghetti, I thought it too late to even think about actually making a dish and photographing it.

But a suggestion of crostini worked, i.e. garlic bread that I spread with a bit of olive oil and toasted. That became dinner and OK, yes, I had it for breakfast again this morning. I love this stuff!! I almost hesitate to say, but at least for the moment, I love it more than basil pesto. That is saying a lot so you’ll just have to trust me and make it yourself and see what I mean;  you will not be sorry, promise!

More Favorite Pesto Recipes

PIN IT! ‘Pea and Pine Nut Pesto’

Pea and Pine Nut Pesto Served on Spaghetti in a White Bowl
Spaghetti with Pea and Pine Nut Pesto

Pea and Pine Nut Pesto

A delicious substitution for pesto using peas instead of basil; now one of my favorites!
5 average from less than 50 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course, Pasta, Potatoes, Rice & Grains, Side Dish, Vegetables
Cuisine American
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 395 kcal


  • 16 ounces peas frozen peas, defrosted
  • 2 small garlic cloves minced
  • 4 tablespoons pine nuts toasted and cooled
  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese finely grated, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • Garnish with sliced mint leaves optional


  • Cook peas in the microwave for 3 minutes; drain and plunge into an ice water bath to stop cooking. Set 1/2 cup of peas aside if making the pesto spaghetti.
  • Put the remaining peas into a blender or food processor with the garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan and salt and blend until smooth, scraping the sides of the work bowl as necessary. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while the machine is running.
  • Store in a clean glass jar in the refrigerator; use within 2 weeks.

To Make Pea and Pine Nut Pesto Spaghetti

  • Cook one pound of spaghetti until al dente. Drain and reserve about two cups pasta cooking water.
  • Toss the cooked pasta with pesto and as much reserved pasta water as needed to smooth and distribute pesto and let cook for one minute. Add the reserved peas and gently toss.
  • Adjust salt to taste (pasta water is salted so taste first) and add freshly ground black pepper if desired.
  • Serve immediately; pass extra Parmesan and garnish with mint if desired.


Nutrition Facts
Pea and Pine Nut Pesto
Serving Size
1 Serving
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword pasta, peas, pesto
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Love peas? Here are some more ideas from contributors to the Food Network’s #SensationalSides!

Taste with the Eyes: Succulent Fresh Fish and Spring Produce
Devour: Crowd-Peasing Recipes Using 3 Varieties of Spring Peas
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Pasta with Spring Peas & Pancetta
Red or Green: Sugar Snap Peas & Peppers
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Peas and Cottage Cheese Curry
The Mom 100: Sauteed Vegetable Frittata
FN Dish: 5 Ways Peas Are Better with the Italian Treatment

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    1. Then all the more for you and you would not be sorry. Sometimes I make stuff up because I am curious and this time that first bite was a great surprise. SO good…do make it for you!

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