Artichoke pesto is a simple spread that can be used to slather on crusty bread or grilled chicken, or tossed with pasta and a bit of starchy pasta water for a quick meal. With just a few ingredients, this pesto comes together in about 10 minutes and is just as tasty as it is easy!
Artichoke pesto is something we make often for a variety of occasions.
For a quick weeknight meal, we'll toss it with pasta and serve it with grilled chicken thighs or a salad.
For gatherings, we'll serve the artichoke pesto with crusty bread along with other spreads like peperonata or caponata.
It's easy to make and because it includes ingredients we always have on hand, it can even be made on a whim for a quick snack with crackers.
How to make it
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- Drain, but do not rinse, 1 24-ounce jar of marinated artichoke hearts and add them to the bowl of a food processor along with ¾ cup of extra virgin olive oil, 1 cup of walnuts, 1 packed cup of flat-leaf Italian parsley, ½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, the zest and juice of 2 lemons, and 2 cloves of garlic.
- Pulse the ingredients until a smooth pesto has formed.
- Add 1 cup of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and stir to combine.
- Taste test the pesto and adjust salt and pepper to taste. If the pesto is too dry, add more extra virgin olive oil and mix to combine.
- Serve the artichoke pesto with crackers or crusty bread.
- You can also use the artichoke pesto with pasta. Simply add the pest to hot pasta along with reserved pasta water and combine to your liking adjusting the amount of pesto and pasta water as needed. Enjoy!
- Artichoke hearts. We prefer the oil-marinated artichoke hearts for this recipe as they tend to have the most flavor. You can use canned or frozen hearts, but you may need to add additional salt, pepper, garlic, and lemon to compensate. As always, taste and adjust seasoning levels to suit your palate.
- Olive oil. Since artichoke pesto has few ingredients and isn't cooked, we recommend using your best extra virgin olive oil. Note that you may need to add more than the recipe calls for if the pesto is too dry, especially after adding the cheese.
- Equipment. We used a food processor for this recipe but you can also pulse a few times in a blender. You could also chop all the ingredients finely by hand and combine together to form the paste.
- Serving. Crusty bread makes the perfect accompaniment to artichoke pesto. It's also great with pasta, but be sure to reserve pasta water as you'll need a bit to loosen the pesto enough to coat the pasta.
More artichoke heart recipes
If you love artichokes, you've come to the right place. Here are a few of our favorite artichoke recipes. Enjoy!
- Baked artichoke hearts - all the flavor of a stuffed artichoke but with minimal effort.
- Spinach artichoke dip - a creamy dip that's perfect for gatherings.
- Artichoke linguine - with seasoned breadcrumbs, garlic, lemon, and parsley.
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- 1 24-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts drained
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil plus more if needed
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley packed
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes plus more to taste
- 2 lemons zested and juiced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese grated
- salt and pepper to taste
- Drain the artichoke hearts from the oil/vinegar mixture they come in.
- Add the artichoke hearts along with all ingredients except the cheese into a food processor and pulse until a smooth pesto has formed.
- Spoon the pesto into a bowl and mix in the parmesan cheese. Taste test the pesto and adjust salt and pepper to taste. You more than likely will not need any extra salt.
- Serve with crackers or crusty bread. Alternatively, serve the artichoke pesto over pasta with saved pasta water to thin it out. Enjoy!
- Artichoke hearts in oil are preferred but canned or frozen can also be used. If using the other types more seasoning will most likely need to be added.
- Use extra olive oil if the pesto gets too thick.
- To serve over pasta simply mix into al dente pasta along with a bit of pasta water and toss to coat.
This was delicious, Jim. I have a Meyer lemon tree in my yard which added a sweeter flavor if you are familiar with them. I tossed the pesto with cavatappi and a cut up rotisserie chicken I had left over from Costco. With a salad, and of course, warmed crusty bread, this was an absolute winner for a Sunday meal. Just to let others know, this recipe makes enough pesto for several different dinners. Since I freeze traditional pesto, I froze this one as well for another night. Thanks as always for another great recipe!
Hi Deb, I'm so happy you liked this one. I'll bet the Meyer lemons really kicked up the flavor for this one! Sounds like you had a great meal and thank you for the comment.
Substitute for walnuts? Love artichokes but walnuts don't work for me. Maybe almonds?
Thanks for your reply.
Hi PattiAnn, classic pesto with basil uses pignoli nuts so I'd say they'd be an optimal substitute.