Last year it was sage, this year parsley. In my small, yet efficient garden I allowed two parsley plants to go to seed at the end of last season. While I was trying to keep up with the sage by smashing it into an aromatic pesto and tucking it into aioli, the parsley was dropping its seeds and nestling them into the dirt. Those seeds slept through the Seattle gray spell then surprised me with their abundance this summer. I have parsley planted in both vegetable beds. It’s lining the path leading to our house and circling the base of our columnar apple trees (all two of them). You need parsley? You come to me as I have more than I know what to do with. I can’t even begin to imagine what next year’s harvest will be as I can’t bring myself to rip it out now knowing how hearty and prolific it is.

The thing is, in my family I’m the only one who likes the stuff. The kids run away from anything green, unless it comes on a stick and makes their mouths pucker with sweetness. And my husband graciously reminds me that he’s not much of a fan. But here’s the thing; I’m the cook in the family and there’s a yard full of parsley so I made pesto. Without having to put it on a stick the kids ate it quite happily and at the end of the meal I had to point out just how much parsley Gabe ate without complaining.

I’d call that a success – plates were clean and slowly but surely my parsley glut is dwindling.



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Creamy Parsley Pesto

makes approximately 1 cup

I was pleasantly surprised with how much I loved this pesto. While I do love parsley I feared that the shear amount of it would be too much but somehow between the pistachios, lemon, Parmesan and soft creaminess that comes through with the yogurt I found it not overly floral or soapy which can sometimes accompany parsley. Instead the pesto was bright, rich and perfect when folded into a warm bowl of nutty farro. Of course you don’t have to use it with farro. I can imagine on a sandwich, as a vegetable dip, folded into pasta or the topping to a seared steak or roasted chicken would all be lovely as well.

½ cup roasted pistachios (roast in a 350* oven for about 10 minutes or until fragrant)
1 ½ – 2 cups Italian parsley leaves
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
a hearty squeeze of lemon juice (approximately 1 Tablespoon)
2 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
2 Tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped

In a mortar and pestle or a food processor add the pistachios, parsley and garlic. Pulse until finely chopped. Scrape the side of the bowl then drizzle in the oil and lemon juice while the machine is running. Add the remaining ingredients. Taste and add salt to your desire.

52 Responses to “Creamy Parsley Pesto”

  1. la domestique

    Keeping up with the herbs in the garden at summer’s end is such a challenge. Your parsley pesto looks delicious, and I never would have thought to pair it with farro, but that’s such a great idea this time of year!

  2. Sarah

    Pistachios and Parsley…Lovely!

    As always, I quite enjoy how you’ve captured your creations with photography and tasteful editing…

    I feel inspired me to bust out the mortar&pestle and camera simultaneously 😉

  3. Shaina

    I just made pesto last week, and then I went and purchased pistachios for a new batch this week. It’s my go-to winter meal when the grey skies start to feel ominous and never-ending. I’m in love with the idea of adding it to farro.

  4. Brenda

    Pesto for orzo, tomatoes, eggs…the list goes on. A few ingredients come together in a very satisfying dish (that costs a few pennies). Love it. Love it’s simplicity.

  5. Sophia Katt

    Well… I live in Seattle and I need parsley. So where do I pick it up? I can give you some of our glut of New York Times wine/salt from that insanely copied grilled pork loin in wine/salt recipe that Dave absolutely needed a double batch of (which is to say that we don’t need all that wine/salt).

  6. Laura

    This sounds fabulous. I especially like the yogurt in it.

    I have some volunteer parsley and, surprisingly, cilantro every year. I have basil as well, which also surprised me. Take it from me though and don’t even plant shiso (perilla) unless you are sure you don’t mind it growing EVERYWHERE. At least my kids love eating it straight off the plants…

  7. Kylie

    Greek yogurt…pistachios…parsley?! This sounds sooo amazing! Love all the ingredients… a fresh alternative to regular pesto.

  8. Megan Gordon

    Ash, did you read Tamar Adler’s book? She basically puts parsley in EVERYTHING and after finishing the book, I kind of started to do the same. So we have it chopped in rice, omelettes, salads … you name it. Now I know a secret source 🙂

  9. emmycooks

    I love my parsley patch–one of the few upsides of gardening in Seattle! (Tomatoes, schmatatoes.) I often use parsley in pesto as well, but this variation sounds like one I should try. And keep up the parsley prosthelytizing–over the years I’ve converted at least the other adult member of my family. 🙂

  10. Foodloveandhappiness

    It looks great! Although my favourite will always be a home made basil pesto, I like other types of pesto as well. Great for so many purposeses, love it with a simple pasta with grilled salmon!

  11. Jenni

    We get big bunches of parsley in our CSA box and sometimes they partially go to waste because I run out of ideas. I made a chimichurri sauce for the first time last week and that went over well with 3/4 of us plus it used up every bit of what I had. This looks wonderful – especially the addition of yogurt. I’ll try with the next bunch!

  12. sara

    oh man, they’re truly kin, hugh turns his nose up at parsley too. go figure. I however am loving this idea, and like the yogurt for some creaminess. Love that top down shot (#5) of the parsley – you are SO good.

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Sara – We shouldn’t allow them to be together – they’ll just encourage one another’s finickyness. You and I on the other hand should spend far more time together. 🙂

  13. Daytona @ Outside Oslo

    Pesto must be one of the most satisfying things to make–with just a quick whirl in the food processor, one can create something delicious that livens up just about any savory dish. I love your idea of adding a little Greek yogurt to make it creamy–as well as improvising on the flavors! Great ideas.

  14. Rachel

    This looks heavenly. My fiancee and myself love pistachios! I have actually have never seen a pesto like this! I will surely be trying this out!

  15. Sophia Katt

    I emailed Ashley for a location to enact the historic parsley for salt trade. But volunteers at the Seattle Community Farm want some salt too, so–hurry up, girl! 🙂

  16. molly

    dear double parsley plants in my backyard: you have met your match in ashley’s pesto.

    dear ashley: i’ve made parsley pesto many a time, but pistachios are brilliant. counting the days…

  17. Shut Up & Cook

    I think pesto is a bit like eggs. If people have only ever had store bought they have no idea how absolutely spectacular the real thing is. I like all pestos, but particuarly those with a little twist, so am excited to give this a try.

    Great blog! Glad to have found it.

  18. Emily

    Whenever I have too much parsley, I make chimmichuri, which is one of my favorite things ever. But this looks like it may be even better, because it has cheese.

  19. Samantha

    This looks lovely – I’ve never made pesto with parsley. I’ve recently fallen in love with quinoa pasta. It’s slightly nuttier in taste than wheat pasta. Might work really well with this sort of pesto, especially with the pistachios… awesome photography as well!

  20. Anastasie

    When my husband is out of town, I cut back on cooking quite a bit. I’m happy to eat something like the above recipe, or cereal, eggs, simple sandwich. We’re entitled not to have to cook if we don’t feel like it. 🙂


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