Did you know that pesto sauce doesn’t always need to be made with basil and pine nuts? For realz.

Minty pistachio pesto prawns

Unless your Italian mom or grandma is a hardcore traditionalist when it comes to the pesto you consume (I wouldn’t want you to get disowned over this), you have definitely got to try making your own variation. I’ve seen spinach and sage combinations. Even one made with kale and walnuts!

Pistachios, shelled and unsalted

Ingredients for minty pistachio pesto

Pureed pesto minus olive oil

My version uses fresh mint for my greens and pistachios for my nuts. It’s got a light, refreshing flavor that’s perfect for summer meals. And since you can make the sauce and store it in the freezer for months, it’s great to take out when you need a quick weeknight meal.

Peeled black tiger prawns

Just sauté it with some big, meaty black tiger prawns, serve with either angel hair pasta or hot garlic bread, and enjoy with a glass of white wine.

Close up of minty pistachio pesto prawns

Minty Pistachio Pesto Prawns
Adapted from Bon Appetit

The Pesto

1 ½ C unsalted, shelled roasted pistachios
1 C chopped tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
1 C fresh mint leaves
½ C grated Parmesan
2 tbsp olive oil
Red pepper flakes
Freshly ground pepper
Kosher salt

The Prawns

½ lb black tiger prawns (or any kind of shrimp/prawn that you like), shelled and deveined
1 tbsp olive oil

  1. Place pistachios, tomatoes, garlic cloves, mint leaves, and grated Parmesan in a food processor and pulse until you get a coarse puree.
  2. Add red pepper flakes to your taste. Since the mint is so light, it’s best not to go heavy on the spice unless that’s really your thing.
  3. Add pepper and a pinch of salt. Pulse for another second to incorporate seasonings.
  4. Transfer to a bowl and add olive oil. Mix until a thick, chunky sauce forms. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Place a frying pan on medium heat and add olive oil. When oil is hot, add shrimp.
  6. Add in 1 C of the minty pistachio pesto. Freeze the rest.
  7. Cook until shrimp is curled and pink.
  8. Serve with garlic toast.

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