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Garlic Chive Pesto

by | Food

I haven’t posted in a while and thought I’d let you all know I’m still alive and kicking!  This little recipe for garlic chive pesto was something I made up a few weeks ago before my garden got completely neglected and overgrown.  At this point, I’m not sure I can find the chives…

Recipe for Garlic Chive Pesto |

These garlic chives are actually called Hiro Haba, a Chinese variety of garlic chives that produces broad green leaves and delicate white flowers in the fall.  I had been trying to grow them for years, and they finally took root last year.  This year, without any fertilizer, care or encouragement, they’ve come back to dominate a good third of my raised bed.

They are well over a foot high and a little bit crazed, so I chopped off great handfuls of them and brought them back to the kitchen for some experimenting.

chives in the garden |

I know regular ol’ basil pesto uses pine nuts, but to be honest, pine nuts are expensive.  Plus, I was hungry and really just wanted some pasta already.  Then I found some cashews hidden away in our pantry, so I substituted cashews for pine nuts, thinking they’d bring a nice salty nutty taste to the overwhelming garlic-ness of the chives.

garlic chive pesto tossed with spaghetti |

I love the picture above, by the way.  That little cashew looks like a tiny little heart!

Be forewarned – it’s probably best that you do not eat large quantities of this before a job interview, say.  Or you know, any social event where you may come within a few feet of other human beings.  It’s uhm..potent.  Although, from experience, it’s not quite as overpowering as a pesto I made from garlic scapes.  Yikes!

Garlic Chive Pesto Pasta |

The cashews actually REALLY helped out with the flavor of the pesto – it toned down the garlic and “spring-ness” of it.  Does that make sense?  They almost anchored the flavor a bit, instead of tasting like you’re standing in the yard while your husband is mowing  and you’re just breathing and eating in all of that cut grass feeling.  There.  “Spring-ness” defined.

Substitute cashews for pine nuts in garlic chive pesto |


Garlic Chive Pesto

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
  • 1 C chopped chives
  • 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil + a few tbsp
  • small handful of cashews
  • tsp of salt
  • optional – a few tablespoons of water if the mixture is too thick
  • 8 oz spaghetti or pasta of choice


Chive Pesto
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender/Vitamix/Ninja/Magic Bullet/food processor and blend until it’s a rough puree consistency.
  2. More oil or water can be added to achieve the consistency desired.
Pesto Pasta
  1. Cook pasta according to instructions on package until al dente, then drain.
  2. In saucepan over medium heat, heat up a few tbsp of chive pesto.
  3. Add pasta and toss until evenly covered.
  4. Optionally add more pesto depending on how saucy you like your pasta.
  5. Optionally add more olive oil to prevent the pasta from drying out as it cooks.


Use cashews instead of pine nuts in pesto |

Do you make pesto over the summer?  What types of dishes do you pair them with?  I’m tempted to try all sorts of herby pesto and see what fun flavors I can come up with!


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  1. Alecia @CSNY

    We have mountains of garlic scapes (I stopped counting at 100 on the first round of harvesting) that get turned rather quickly into super garilcy pesto. I’ll have to try the cashews, I’m mildly allergic to walnuts and like you said, pine nuts are too expensive!

    GREAT photos btw 🙂

  2. Todd

    Hi ChiWei! I just wanted to say that this is a great recipe and your pictures here of the garlic chive pesto are positively glamorous. I’ve never seen such photogenic pesto before! And the recipe is simple and great as well. The ingredients are always readily available in my garden here in Canada! Thanks 🙂

  3. Lisa Huff

    OMG this sounds awesome!

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