This pea pesto is one of the easiest ways to transform an ordinary meal into something sublime. The pesto is fragrant with fresh mint and garlic, and has a hint of sweetness from peas (fresh or frozen!). I’ll show you how easy it is to make as well as share my favorite ways to serve it. (Don’t miss the step-by-step VIDEO below.)

Close up of pea pesto in a food processor.

Easy pea pesto

At the risk of sounding like a teenager breaking up with her boyfriend, I’m so over the hardy greens that I’ve been seeing all winter (sorry kale and Brussels sprouts). It’s time for brighter, lighter flavors. Since we still have several weeks until spring greens show up at our farmer’s market, I turn to my freezer. Helllllooo sweet peas. You’re so cute, and you’re always there for me when I need to punch up a soup, add color to a pasta, or get my five year old to eat something green.

How to make pea and mint pesto:

Process shot showing all of the ingredients for the pea pesto in a food processor.
  • Blanch peas (fresh or frozen) in boiling water then transfer them to ice water (this will preserve their bright green color). If you’re using frozen peas and want to omit this step, simply defrost the peas at room temperature!
  • Puree the peas in a food processor or Vitamix with garlic, fresh mint, toasted pine nuts, fresh lemon juice and olive oil. Done!
The finished pesto in a food processor.

Vegan pea pesto

The pea pesto is naturally vegan, although you can add grated parmesan cheese if you wish.

Pea pesto on crostini with shaved parmesan cheese.

How do I serve pea pesto?

  • Spoon it over Maple Roasted Salmon, cooked chicken and/or grain bowls
  • Slather it on pizza, crostini or toasted bread (it’s an easy appetizer or lunch!)
  • Toss it with pasta
  • Use it as a dip for veggies and crackers
Pea pesto over roasted salmon.

FAQ

How do I make pea pesto pasta?

Toss pea pesto with any cooked pasta of your choice. You can serve the pasta as-is, or you can add cooked vegetables (such as asparagus, artichoke hearts, zucchini and/or summer squash), chicken or shrimp. Serve the pasta on its own or garnish it with crumbled goat cheese or grated parmesan.

How do I make pea pesto crostini?

Brush slices of bread (you can use any crusty loaf you like) with olive oil, then toast them until crisp. Top the toasted crostini with the pesto. If you’d like, garnish with fresh parmesan or crumbled coat cheese and fresh mint leaves.

What can I substitute for mint in pea pesto?

You can swap out the fresh mint for basil.

Pesto tossed with pasta, topped with goat cheese.

Tips for making pea pesto:

  • You can make the pesto in a food processor or Vitamix.
  • Boiling the peas then shocking them in ice water preserves their bright green color. If you want to omit this step, you can simply defrost the peas at room temperature!
  • This pesto is naturally vegan, but you can add grated parmesan cheese, if you prefer.
  • You can swap out the fresh mint for basil.
  • Serve the pesto on Maple Roasted Salmon, chicken, grain bowls, pizza or crostini. It also makes for a lovely dip with crackers!

Other recipes you might like:

Springtime desserts:

Watch the video!

Get the recipe!

Pea Pesto (Vegan)

This super simple pesto is slightly sweet and utterly uplifting, especially when you’re craving spring. Toss it with pasta, spread it on grilled bread or crostini (it’s great with goat cheese), spoon it over salmon or chicken, or dip crackers into it for a snack. If you’re tossing the pesto with pasta (it makes more than enough for 1 pound of pasta), blanch the peas in the same water you’ll use to cook the noodles (transfer the peas to a bowl of ice water, then cook your pasta in the same pot)—this saves you a bit of clean-up and even adds some nutrients to your pasta. You wouldn’t know this pesto was vegan, but you can certainly add some grated Parmigiano when blending, or top your bowls of pasta with crumbled goat cheese, if you so desire.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time2 mins
Total Time12 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pea and mint pesto, pea pesto, pea pesto crostini, pea pesto pasta
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups fresh or frozen sweet peas (1 10-ounce bag frozen peas)
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  • Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, and season with salt.  Fill a bowl with ice water.  Cook the peas in the boiling water until bright green and tender, about 2-3 minutes.  Transfer to the bowl of ice water to cool (this will preserve their color).  Drain.


  • In a food processor with the motor running (or you can use a Vitamix), drop the garlic clove through the feed tube and finely chop. Add the peas, mint, pine nuts and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Process to a paste. Scrape down the sides. With the machine running, drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil. Taste and season with additional salt, pepper and/or lemon juice, if needed.

Notes

Do Ahead: The pesto can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Tips:
  • You can make the pesto in a food processor or Vitamix.
  • Boiling the peas then shocking them in ice water preserves their bright green color. If you want to omit this step, you can simply defrost the peas at room temperature!
  • This pesto is naturally vegan, but you can add grated parmesan cheese, if you prefer.
  • You can swap out the fresh mint for basil.
  • Serve the pesto on Maple Roasted Salmon, chicken, grain bowls, pizza or crostini. It also makes for a lovely dip with crackers!

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