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If you are a pesto lover looking for a spring twist on the classic recipe, this creamy and lemony asparagus pesto pasta is for you.
Made with fresh asparagus, pistachio nuts, parsley, and a hint of lemon, this quick and easy mouthwatering spring pasta is going to become your new favorite.
Asparagus is one of the most popular spring veggies, and today I want to inspire you with a quick and easy recipe to make when asparagus is plentiful and cheap to buy.
Asparagus Pesto Pasta
This asparagus pesto pasta is one of my favorite spring recipes! It requires very little work, and you can get it done in well under 30 minutes. Plus, you can keep this pesto ready to use in the fridge for 3 days or keep it for months in the freezer.
And you can also use this asparagus pesto on salads, toasts or use it as a dip!
This asparagus pesto pasta is also naturally vegan, dairy-free, and can be made gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta.
Ingredients you’ll need
- Asparagus: Of course! Make sure to pick a fresh bunch with plump and firm stalks and tips that are tightly closed.
- Pistachio nuts: I love the creaminess of pistachios in this recipe, plus they add a more vibrant green color to the pesto. But they can be quite expensive. You can easily substitute them with cashew nuts, almonds, or pine nuts. If you use pistachios, make sure to use unsalted.
- Lemon: We’ll need 2 tablespoons of lemon juice for the pesto and the zest to sprinkle on the pasta.
- Parsley leaves: It adds depth of flavor to the pesto. Make sure to use fresh parsley for the best result.
- Extra virgin olive oil: Using a really good quality olive oil will make all the difference!
- Garlic (you can easily omit this if you are not a garlic fan).
- Salt and pepper
- Pasta: Any pasta is good: whole wheat pasta, chickpea pasta, gluten-free pasta. I used farfalle (butterfly) pasta, as it goes quite well with the spring theme, but this pesto works really well with long pasta like spaghetti or linguine. Just use your favorite pasta!
How to make
1. Prepare the asparagus. If needed, remove the woody ends by chopping off 1-2 inches from the bottom. We don’t want anything fibrous in our pesto! Then chop the asparagus into small bits, wash them, and blanch them in boiling water you have previously salted for about 5 minutes until nice and tender. Drain them and rinse them under cold water to stop them from cooking. Set the tips aside as we will use them for decoration.
2. In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instruction. Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
3. Add the pistachios (or nut of your choice) to your blender or food processor and blitz.
4. Then add the rest of the ingredients: asparagus, garlic, lemon juice, parsley leaves, olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper. Puree until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning.
5. Mix the pasta with the asparagus pesto and toss well until combined. If needed, add some of the cooking water you kept aside to make the pasta silky and saucy. Add the asparagus tips you kept on the side, sprinkle with lemon zest, and serve while hot.
Asparagus pesto pasta tips
- Make sure you use only the freshest asparagus in season to make this pasta.
- You can use any nuts you like: cashews, pine nuts, almonds.
- This pesto can be made chunky or smooth, depending on how long you process it and how powerful your food processor or blender is. I prefer my pesto on the crunchier side, but feel free to process it for longer if you like yours extra smooth.
- You can also add 1/2 cup (40 grams) of parmesan for a more cheesy flavor (real parmesan or a vegan alternative). I prefer this recipe without, as the taste of the fresh asparagus and lemon shines through the dish.
- Make sure to save a bit of pasta cooking water. The starch contained in it will give your pesto pasta a silkier texture.
- This pasta is also great as a cold pasta salad if you are planning a day out.
How to store
Asparagus pesto is great for meal prep. You can store it in a glass jar:
- In the fridge, for up to 3 days.
- In the freezer for up to 3 months.
If you have any leftovers, this pasta is also great eaten cold. Or you can warm it up in the microwave or in a pot, adding a bit of water to loosen it up a bit.
This pesto is great with hot and cold pasta, stirred through risotto or soups, thinned with a bit of water as a salad dressing, or spread on bruschetta, sandwich, or toast. It’s also delicious as a dip with some bread, oatcakes, or crunchy raw veggies.
And if you liked this recipe, check out more quick and easy dinner ideas:
Asparagus Pesto Pasta
- Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil.
- Chop the asparagus into small bits, making sure to remove and discard the fibrous ends if needed. Wash them, and blanch them in the boiling water for about 5 minutes until slightly tender. Drain the asparagus and rinse them under cold water to stop them from cooking. Set the asparagus tips aside as we will use them for decoration.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instruction. Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
- Add the pistachios (or nut of your choice) to your blender or food processor and blitz.
- Then add the cooked asparagus, garlic, lemon juice, parsley leaves, olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper. Puree until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and mix it with the asparagus pesto. Toss well until combined. Add some of the cooking water to the pasta to make the pasta silky and saucy. Plate the pasta, add the asparagus tips you kept on the side, sprinkle with lemon zest, and serve while hot.
Have you made this asparagus pesto pasta recipe? What did you think? Let me know in the comments! I love hearing from you!
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