All Recipes, Sauces

Pea Shoot Pesto

March 7, 2021 (Last updated September 2, 2021) · Nicole Triebe

This homemade pea shoot pesto comes together in less than 10 minutes! It’s perfect for pasta, sandwiches, and more!

The sun is shining and the weather is warming up, and I’ve been dreaming of all the spring pasta recipes I can make. I had an excess of pea shoots from a local microgreen vendor, so homemade pesto was in order! Once you make a homemade pesto, you’ll never go back to store bought! It’s the perfect way to use up extra basil, kale, and so many other greens!

pea shoot pesto ingredients on background

What are pea shoots?

Pea shoots come from the pea plant, usually from the snow or sugar snap pea varieties. They are harvested as young 2- to 6-inch shoots, including two to four leaf pairs and the immature tendrils. Pea shoots have a subtle pea flavor that is slightly sweet, and a light and crunchy texture. Pea shoots make for beautiful mellow pesto!

close up shot of pea shoots

Tips to making the best pea shoot pesto

  • Grate your own Parmesan cheese – fresh blocks of cheese from the cheese counter are of higher quality than the pre-packaged cheese on the shelves. However, it comes with a higher price tag, so it all depends on your budget! If you must go for pre-shredded, avoid the powdered stuff in a shaker! Buy the pre-shredded in a container!
  • Choose a high-quality olive oil – Choose an olive oil that you like the flavor of on its own. As a taste test, pour the olive oil onto a plate, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then dip in some bread. If you’d order it at a restaurant, you’ve got good olive oil!
  • Toast your nuts – toasting the nuts that are added to this pea shoot pesto, helps to add a rich, roasted flavor. However, if you’re short on time, it’s perfectly fine to leave them raw.
  • Add citrus. When lemon juice and/or zest are added to a pea shoot pesto, it can help brighten the flavor! I like to save a little zest to add to the top of pasta dishes made with pesto, too!
top down shot of pea shoot pesto ingredients in food processor

How do you use pea shoot pesto?

  1. Add to soup – add a fresh burst of flavor to your soup by stirring in a scoop of pesto after the soup has been taken off the heat and before serving.
  2. Spread on Bread. I love adding pesto to all kinds of sandwiches! It’s a great alternative to mayo that adds a layer of freshness!
  3. Use as a pasta sauce – Toss your favorite noodles with any pesto for a light dish for dinner or lunch!
  4. Toss with potatoes – one of my favorite side dishes is roasted potatoes tossed with a nice green pesto!
pea shoot pesto blended in food processor

If you loved this recipe, check out my easy lasagna!

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Pea Shoot Pesto

  • Author: Nicole Triebe
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1/2 cups 1x
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Raw
  • Cuisine: Italian



4 cups pea shoots

3 cloves garlic, peeled

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted

1/2 cup parmesan-reggiano

Zest and juice of one lemon

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp salt


Roughly chop pea shoots. 

Add all ingredients but oil to blender and pulse to combine. 

Add olive oil in a steady stream while pulsing until the ingredients form a loose paste. 

If the mixture is too thick, add olive oil one tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency.  

Keywords: pesto; pea shoots; sauce

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