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It's Skinny Spaghetti with Pistachio Basil Pesto

Gluten Free Keto Low Carb

Recipe by Chef Michele Ragussis

  • Cook Time 10 minutes
  • Serves 2
  • Difficulty Easy

Low-Carb Pistachio Pesto with Spaghetti

You know those busy days when you want a dish that’s filling, quick, and still packed with flavor? Well, prepare to fall in love with this 5-minute low-carb pistachio pesto with It’s Skinny Spaghetti.

This crunchy, salty, delicious dish is keto-friendly and low-carb. We included shrimp as a protein, but feel free to mix it up with your favorite. No matter how you do it, you’re going to adore pistachio pesto! (We dare say it’s even better than the classic pinenut-style sauce.) Think homemade pesto sounds like a challenge? This flavorful sauce couldn't be easier!

Pesto in a Presto

Pesto is that beloved, traditional green sauce that plays so well with pasta. It’s a bright and flavorful low carb pasta topping that only requires a handful of ingredients for a big flavor payoff.

Classic pesto originated in Genoa, Italy (the full name is "pesto alla Genovese"). It has historically been made with garlic, basil, parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt, and pine nuts. Pesto comes from the Italian term "pestare," which means to pound or crush, which describes exactly how it is made—all those flavorful ingredients crushed together with a mortar and pestle.

While you can easily make this version in a food processor or blender for a smoother texture, it’s kind of fun to take out any of the day’s stresses the traditional way—with a mortar and pestle. We suggest giving it a try.

Although pesto originated in Italy, it is popular around the world. It seems that everyone has a favorite adaptation of this classic sauce. Some people use nuts like walnuts or almonds; others use sundried tomatoes and pepper to ramp up the flavor. It's perfect as a sandwich spread, dip, or marinade too.

We (obviously) use pistachios for our pistachio pesto. Why are pistachios so great in pesto? They have a slightly sweet flavor that goes so well with basil. Plus, pistachios are often much easier to find and less expensive than pinenuts, yet they have a similar creamy, thick texture when blended into pesto. We think that this simple pistachio pesto recipe is the best pesto (sorry, traditional pine nuts).

Pistachios are also very healthy! They're rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They can help lower your cholesterol levels and blood pressure, so they're considered a heart-healthy nut. Pistachios have fewer calories than many other nuts. They have high protein and healthy fat—perfect for the keto diet.

Of course, the other ingredients in this yummy sauce hold their own in terms of health benefits. Fresh basil leaves are packed with anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants. Olive oil is high in healthy fats and more antioxidants and adds to the pesto sauce's creamy texture. Lemon adds a burst of flavor and a healthy dose of vitamin C. It's great for immune health and skin, helps with digestion, and can enhance the absorption of the nutrients in the other ingredients.

For this dish, we chose shrimp as our protein. Shrimp is a perfect choice for keto dieters—sweet, flavorful, low in carbohydrates, and perfectly portioned. You could use other proteins in this dish but trust us when we say shrimp is the best!

It’s Skinny Spaghetti is Perfect with Pesto

For the best low-carb pasta, look no further than It's Skinny. Pistachio pesto is perfect with this zero-net-carb noodle! While pesto goes well with almost any pasta size and shape, there's something about the texture of spaghetti that just gets it right.

If you've never tried It's Skinny before, this is a perfect entry-level dish! It's ready in just five minutes or so, making it lunch or dinner-friendly. Unlike the traditional (carb-heavy) types of pasta, It's Skinny requires no boiling water and no waiting for the exact al dente texture.

It's Skinny noodles come ready to heat and eat. Simply open the shelf-stable pack, drain, rinse, and add your noodles to the other ingredients at the end of cooking time. Once they heat through in about 3-4 minutes, you have a beautiful, guilt-free pasta ready to enjoy!

The magic behind It's Skinny comes from a vegetable called Konjac. Unlike other vegetable-masquerading-as-carbs (cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, chickpea pasta), Konjac is a perfect choice. It offers the ideal texture without a strong flavor to overpower other components.

If you've never heard of Konjac, that's okay. It's just now becoming popular in the United States. For many years, it has been enjoyed in parts of Asia as both a filling food and as medicine. The fibrous root (it's actually the root of the Konjac plant) contains a high level of glucomannan—a filling type of fiber that keeps blood sugar levels steady.

When you enjoy It’s Skinny pasta, there’s no guilt, no carb comma, no crash and burn. It’s just delicious pasta done your way. With only 9 calories per pack, you can “splurge” on a pasta dish almost every day.

We all know that deprivation is a surefire way to diet failure. Who wants to feel like they can never have their favorite pasta or rice dishes on a diet? It's Skinny gives you the keys to success by putting pasta (and rice) back on the menu.

Oh yes, did we mention It’s Skinny Rice Shape? It’s Skinny is available in several amazing shapes:

As well as organic and traditional varieties. You can order a variety pack to get a little of each flavor. Swap them into all your favorite recipes, or explore our recipe database for even more ideas.

With It's Skinny pasta, you can enjoy all your favorite recipes (even Skinny Mac) gluten-free, low-carb, keto-friendly, and delicious. The noodles are made from plant-based ingredients, so there are no worries no matter your lifestyle.

If you're ready to try It's Skinny, take five and whip this delicious pistachio pesto together. You're going to love this dish!

Customizing Basil Pistachio Pesto

Now, there are many ways to make delicious pesto and many options with this recipe. If you’re a beginner, we suggest sticking to the recipe as is, but if you’re confident in the kitchen, feel free to mix it up! Here are some of the common questions about customizing this pistachio pesto recipe.

How do I use a mortar and pestle?

A mortar and pestle consists of a little bowl (the mortar) and a tool for crushing ingredients (the pestle). It's a (very) old-school way of mixing ingredients, but it really works for crushing and mashing the components together. Plus, it's fun! You can use a mortar and pestle for herbs, spices, and other ingredients that need to be crushed and muddled.

If you don't have a mortar and pestle, you can use a blender, immersion blender, or small food processor for similar results. Often, the texture will be a little smoother with these more modern tools. No matter how you combine it, it makes a delicious sauce you'll want to smother on everything from meat to vegetables to It's Skinny Pasta!

What vegetables would go with this dish?

Kudos to anyone who wants to increase their vegetable intake! This pistachio pesto makes it easy to eat your veggies. The versatile sauce is delicious on almost any veggie. Pesto is especially yummy on red peppers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, and spinach.

Pesto makes a great topping for butternut squash or acorn squash too. You could add other fresh herbs, like oregano or parsley, to your pesto. Add some red pepper flakes or a garlic clove to your pesto if you'd like a stronger flavor and a little kick. No matter what you pair it with, the good quality, fresh ingredients make it way better than store-bought pesto.

Can I use chicken instead of shrimp?

We love shrimp for its convenience, portion control, and flavor. It's one of our favorite ways to enjoy 5-minute pistachio pesto. But shrimp isn’t everyone’s preferred protein, and that’s totally okay. Pesto goes well with many other protein options (and you can have it over pasta alone, too).

Try this dish with diced chicken breast or shredded rotisserie chicken. It’s also great with salmon, tuna, and other types of fish. Pesto is quite versatile, so feel free to experiment with your favorite protein options to see what tickles your taste buds.

How to Make Low-Carb Pistachio Pesto Pasta with Shrimp

If you have a few minutes, you can make this impressive recipe. When you combine the pistachios, basil, olive oil, and parmesan cheese, you get a flavor-packed pesto that is the perfect topping for low-carb It’s Skinny Pasta. Add some shrimp, and a delicious dinner is served!



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  • Spaghetti | It's Skinny
  • 1 package It's Skinny Spaghetti
  • 1/3 cup salted pistachio nuts, shelled
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 5 tbsp high-quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 3-5 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined




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