Pistachio Pesto with Fennel Seed and Olive: A Regional Italian Delight


Discover a world of pesto beyond the classic with this flavorful Fennel Seed, Pistachio, and Olive Pesto recipe. Inspired by the regional Italian tradition of using fresh, local ingredients, this pesto bursts with unique flavors and pairs perfectly with pasta, roasted vegetables, or fish. Embrace the culinary adventure and find your new favorite pesto recipe!

Pesto. The word conjures up images of vibrant green basil, pine nuts, and the irresistible aroma of garlic. But what if we told you the world of pesto extends far beyond this classic combination?

Pesto can be any combination of greens and/or herbs, garlic, spices, nuts, and oil as well as additional ingredients like cheese and vegetables. 

Italy, a land steeped in culinary tradition, celebrates regional diversity in its cuisine, and with its varied geography, Italy boasts a rich tapestry of flavors that differ from north to south. And this diversity extends to everyone’s favorite green sauce – pesto.

This particular pesto comes from the Campania region where seafood and fish is abundant. And this is a pesto which pairs well with the abundant fish found along the sunny coast. 

This pesto embodies the spirit of regional Italian cuisine – fresh, local, and bursting with unique flavor



Fennel Seeds. Fennel seed may seem like an odd addition for this dish, but fennel is a beloved flavor throughout Italy. It gives this dish a distinctive slightly sweet flavor. Toast the seeds to bring out their flavor. 

Garlic. Fresh garlic is the best for this recipe. If fresh is not available you can use a 2 teaspoons of Dried Minced instead. Add the dried garlic to the olive oil while preparing the rest of the ingredients to give it a chance to reconstitute. 

Pacific Flake Sea Salt is our everyday salt. It’s texture and pure clean flavor makes it ideal for seasoning just about anything! 

Parsley. This recipe calls for fresh parsley. Look for Italian parsley also called flat leaf parsley. 

Find these spices and hundreds more at Spice-Topia.com

Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan Cheese  is a classic cheese choice for many pesto recipes. It brings nutty savory notes to this pesto.


This pesto calls for both olive oil and green olives. Make sure to use an extra-virgin olive oil with a flavor you enjoy. The green olives bring additional olive flavor as well as add body and texture to this bright pesto recipe. 


Pistachios have a mild nutty flavor with notes of herbiness and sweetness. Those slight sweet notes pair especially well with the fennel seeds. 

This recipe calls for dry roasted and salted pistachios because they are relatively easy to find. If you have raw pistachios available to you, they are best, but will need the additional step of toasting the pistachios. The pistachios can be toasted following the same directions as found below for the fennel seeds. You’ll also need to taste for salt as the recipe will be missing the salt from the salted pistachios. 

This pesto recipe is naturally gluten-free as well as vegetarian. Leave out the parmesan cheese to make this recipe a vegan pesto. 

Technique or How To Make Pesto

First things first: Toast the fennel. Place the fennel seeds in a frying pan on a cool burner. Turn the burner on to medium. As soon as you smell the fennel seeds, remove them from the heat, stir, and remove from the pan. 

Other than that step, this recipe is straightforward. Blend everything together and you’ll have a unique and tasty pesto! 

This pesto is extremely versatile.. Dress roasted vegetables with it, toss it with hearty rigatoni pasta, or pair it with your favorite fish for instant flavor.

Looking for more pesto recipes:

Blanco Pesto features walnuts and ricotta cheese.

Pea & Mint Pesto is a lovely fresh spring or summer pesto! 

Let’s Get Cooking!

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 Pistachio Pesto with Fennel Seed and Olive: A Regional Italian Delight

Difficulty: Beginner



  1. Toast the fennel seeds in a small pan over medium heat until fragrant. Remove from heat immediately.

  2. In a blender or food processor, combine pistachios and Parmesan cheese. Process until a coarse sand-like texture forms. Do not blend past this stage as it will turn into nut butter.

  3. Add olives, parsley, olive oil, and toasted fennel seeds. Blend until completely smooth.

  4. Season with salt to taste.

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