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Celery Leaf, Parsley and Pistachio Pesto

Celery Leaf, Parsley and Pistachio Pesto 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Oct 11, 2015

In this cool-weather pesto, parsley tempers the fragrant intensity of celery leaves, and toasted pistachios lend a sweet, nutty counterpoint.

Because the celery leaves already provide bitterness and astringency, choose a sweet, buttery oil for this pesto, which is excellent with pasta, as a garnish for a grain bowl and as a sauce for cooked potatoes.

One bunch of locally grown celery should yield several cups of leaves.

Make Ahead: Without the optional cheese, the pesto can be refrigerated for 2 days. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface; stir in the cheese, if using, just before serving.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings; makes 1/2 cup

  • 1 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 cup packed celery leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon shelled, unsalted pistachios, toasted and coarsely chopped (see NOTE)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese, finely grated (optional)


Chop the parsley and the celery leaves.

Use a mortar and pestle to pound the garlic with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt to form a smooth paste.

(Alternately, use the flat side of a chef's knife to crush the garlic, then mince it with the salt until extremely fine.)

Use a large mortar and pestle or a food processor to reduce the pistachios to fine crumbs.

If using a mortar and pestle, add the parsley and celery leaves to the garlic and pistachios a bit at a time, pounding well after each addition, until they break down to a coarse paste, scraping around the bowl occasionally to incorporate. If using a food processor, add the leaves to the pistachios all at once, along with the garlic; pulse until broken down to a coarse paste, about 1 minute, stopping once to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add the oil in a slow stream, stirring or pulsing until fully blended. Scrape the pesto into a medium bowl. If serving right away, stir in the cheese, if using. If you're not adding the cheese, taste the pesto and add some or all of the remaining salt, as needed. If you’re refrigerating the pesto, cover with plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface. If you’re adding the cheese, do so right before serving.

NOTE: Toast pistachios on a baking sheet, spread in a single layer, in a 400-degree oven for 4 to 5 minutes, shaking them once so they brown evenly. Cool completely before using.

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Recipe Source

From food writer Emily C. Horton.

Tested by Claudia Kilmer.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 190

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 19g 29%

Saturated Fat: 3g 15%

Cholesterol: 0mg 0%

Sodium: 190mg 8%

Total Carbohydrates: 5g 2%

Dietary Fiber: 2g 8%

Sugar: 1g

Protein: 3g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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