Friday Fare, Health

Pistachio Pesto with Cannellini Beans

September 11, 2016

Pesto is my dream food. It’s creamy, it’s delicious and it’s healthy. Seriously, what more could you ask of a food? I remember the first time I had pesto … I am not exactly sure how old I was, but I was young enough to make a pouty face and exclaim that “the green stuff,” looked yucky, right to the face of my poor father’s friend. Real classy, right from the start.

Luckily, I was forced to try “the green stuff, and I’ve been in love ever since. I love experimenting with different pesto recipes, and have come up with some really delicious recipes, such as this gorgeous avocado pesto. Because I took the Pulse Pledge (which you should do too!) after learning that 2016 is the International Year of Pulses, I wanted to cook up a pesto recipe that incorporated one of my favorite pulses: cannellini beans.

Pistachio Pesto with Cannellini Beans

Mmm, I’m already drooling at the thought of this pesto. It’s so creamy because of the addition of the cannellini beans with a rich flavor given by the pistachios. I already mentioned the benefits of pulses in this post, but let me give you a quick reminder:

  • pulses are packed with protein 
  • pulses are high in fiber (hello, staying full for longer)
  • pulses contain a variety of nutrients

Pulses are seriously the best. And cannellini beans have become a fast favorite this past year–I use them all the time, in stews, random stir-fries and now, this pesto recipe. They have a fairly mild taste, which is why they are great to use in recipes to add texture, are really filling and healthy. If you have any fussy eaters in the family, you should definitely use cannellini beans in your meals (like this one!) as a way to sneak in a healthy legume. 

The Perfect Healthy and Balanced Meal

This pesto recipe can be used all times of the day–to top on your eggs for breakfast, to mix into a light lunch salad or to mix into pasta at dinner time. The way I personally use this pesto is with zucchini noodles, which I enjoy as a tasty and low-carbohydrate dinner. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with carbohydrates, but I try and lower the amount of carbohydrate rich foods I eat on days I don’t work out, as I don’t need quite as much food compared to days I lift and do hard workouts. 


If you make this pesto my way, you will benefit in so many ways. Paired with zucchini noodles, sun dried tomatoes and olives, you get a healthy dose of fats (the good kind), tons of vegetables offering you a wide range of vitamins and minerals and complex carbohydrates, as well as a punch of protein from the cannellini beans and pistachios in the pesto. Can it get any better than that? Plus, you wake up feeling lovely and light because of how easy this meal is on your tummy. 

Recipe: Pistachio Pesto with Cannellini Beans

“Blah, blah, blah, Alice. Where’s the recipe?”

I hear you loud and clear! Without further ado, here is my pistachio pesto with cannellini beans recipe, with a bonus zucchini noodle recipe to enjoy the pesto with.

Pistachio Pesto with Cannellini Bean
You will love this unique and tasty twist on traditional pesto! Enjoy this tasty pistachio pesto with cannellini beans on zucchini pasta.
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  1. Pistachio Pesto with Cannellini Beans
  2. 1 and 1/2 cup of baby spinach
  3. 1/4 cup cannellini beans
  4. 1/3 cup shelled unsalted pistachios
  5. 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  6. 1/4 cup olive oil
  7. 2 tsp garlic paste or 2 garlic cloves
  8. 1/4 tsp salt
  9. 1/4 tsp black pepper
  10. Zucchini Pasta
  11. 2 medium-sized zucchini
  12. 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  13. 5 black olives, sliced
  14. 2tbsp sundried tomatoes, chopped
  1. Blend all of the pistachio pesto with cannellini beans in a food processor. Set aside when done.
  2. To make the zucchini pasta, you will need a spiralizer (I use Paderno).
  3. Spiralize the two zucchinis by chopping off both ends and affixing to the spiralizer. Spiralize away
  4. Pour your olive oil into a pan over medium-high heat. Add spiralized zucchini and cook until soft (approximately 5 minutes).
  5. Drain the zucchini pasta using a colander--put into a bowl and add the pistachio pesto with cannellini beans (just a few tbsp's, not everything you made!) as well as the olives and sundried tomatoes.
  6. Enjoy!
  1. Pesto hardens when refrigerated. Simply microwave for 45 seconds + or heat in a pan to soften again.
Honestly Fitness
This meal should last you 2-3 days, and the pesto itself should last you a week. So feel free to have it as leftovers the next day (then your friends can try some).


I cannot wait for you guys to try out this pesto. I know you’ll love it. So much so that you’ll want to share photos of your fabulous recreation on your Instagram or Twitter ;). Just be sure to tag me (@honestlyfitness for both platforms) if you do so we can geek out over how good this meal is. 

Honestly yours,

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 Disclaimer: This post was created in partnership with USA Pulses & Pulse Canada. Thank you for supporting those who support Honestly Fitness!

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  • Cassie September 16, 2016 at 11:32 am

    This looks beautiful! I love the idea of using beans to make a thick, luscious and high protein sauce!