Add a veggie-packed twist to a classic Italian sauce with a quick and creamy recipe for Cheesy Asparagus Pesto Pasta made with just six ingredients.

A large stockpot containing Cheesy Asparagus Pesto Pasta with fresh asparagus pieces

I’ve made pesto out of just about every ingredient you can imagine. Basil pesto? Of course. Kale pesto? Absolutely. Jalapeño pesto? Yes indeed. It was about time I turned my attention to those long, tender stalks and transform them from a humble veggie into a flavor-packed pesto perfect for tossing with pasta, whisking into mayo, spooning atop roasted veggies or slathering atop my go-to no-yeast pizza dough. Welcome to the party, Cheesy Asparagus Pesto Pasta!

Blanched asparagus in a strainer over a large pot filled with water

Can You Put Asparagus In Pesto?

Of course the answer is a resounding “yes!” but it all comes down to how you put it in pesto. If you were to swap out the basil for raw asparagus in any classic recipe, the result would be a gritty paste leaving much to be imagined. The secret? First blanch the asparagus in hot water to quickly tenderize the stalks and preserve the green color, and then blend it with the essential pesto components to make a creamy sauce or spread.

A top-down view of a blender containing toasted pine nuts, shredded Parmesan cheese, garlic cloves, salt and pepper

I like to use the sturdy stalks for the pesto itself and keep the flowery tips for tossing into and garnishing atop the pasta. This is root-to-stem cooking at its finest! And like all pesto recipes, the door for customization has been left wide open on this recipe, so feel free to get creative with your preferred nuts.

Creamy asparagus pesto in a blender

The Best Nuts for Pesto

Anything goes when it comes to adding nutty richness to pesto sauce. A few of the best nuts for pesto include:

Whichever nut you choose, it’s important to toast it prior to adding it to the blender to release the oils and amplify the flavor.

Creamy asapagus pesto pasta garnished with asparagus spears and Parmesan cheese in a large stockpot

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Appetizer

Cheesy Asparagus Pesto Pasta

Add a veggie-packed twist to a classic Italian sauce with a quick and creamy recipe for Cheesy Asparagus Pesto Pasta made with just six ingredients.
5 from 1 vote
A large stockpot containing Cheesy Asparagus Pesto Pasta with fresh asparagus pieces
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Total Time 27 mins
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 2

    large cloves garlic, roughly chopped


  • 1 Tablespoon

    fresh lemon juice


  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon

    fresh black pepper


  • 1/2 cup

    olive oil


  • 1 pound uncooked pasta

Instructions 

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Slice the asparagus into 2-inch pieces and add them to the boiling water for 1 minute then remove them and immediately rinse them under cold water. (Keep the pot of salted water at a boil.)
  • Reserve some of the tips of the asparagus to use as garnish. Add the rest of the asparagus to a blender, along with the toasted pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Blend the ingredients for 10 to 15 seconds, then with the blender still running, slowly stream in the olive oil until it’s fully incorporated and the mixture is well-blended, scraping down the sides as needed. Transfer the pesto to a bowl and season it with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the pasta to the boiling salted water and cook until al dente. Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl, add the pesto and reserved asparagus spears, tossing to combine. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and serve.
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Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.


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Nutrition

Calories: 516kcal, Carbohydrates: 60g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 3mg, Sodium: 289mg, Potassium: 354mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 615IU, Vitamin C: 5.5mg, Calcium: 102mg, Iron: 3.1mg

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Comments

    1. Hi Sam! I’ve never tried this recipe with spinach but it *should* work. I would love to hear your results if you give it a shot!

  1. I can honestly say – that is one of the best pasta recipes I have ever tasted….and Ive eaten in some great Italian restaurants (in Italy). Easy to prepare and absolutely delicious!!

    1. Hi Ian! Thanks so much for your kind comment. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the recipe!

  2. I’ve never heard of pesto made with asparagus before, but now it seems like an obvious idea … not to mention divine-tasting. Will definitely remember this one!

  3. Such a fabulous recipe, it’s all my favorite ingredients combined into one! I know, I know… I say that about all of your recipes. :)

  4. I love asparagus but my husband doesn’t, and since he’s out of town I made this last night with brown rice noodles. I love it so much, I’m making it from now on whether he’s at home or not! Thanks for sharing your recipe. :)

  5. love this creative use of asparagus!!! I love making new spins on pesto sauce and this right here is def a winner

  6. Great tutorial. Everything is much easier when you can see these step-by-step pictures. Love it ;-)

  7. Great tutorial. Everything is so much easier when we can see these step-by-step pictures. Love it ;-)

  8. What a wonderful idea to use the asparagus as a base for the pesto! And I thought I’d tried every pesto out there. Great idea!

  9. What a gorgeous color!! I make pesto out of everything too..lol Theres arugula pesto sitting in a jar right now!