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Chive and Parsley Pesto

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Tossing pasta with a chive parsley pesto

Chive and Parsley Pesto ~ a spring green pesto sauce that goes rogue without a trace of basil.  Don’t save it just for pasta, use it on fish, chicken, sandwiches, burgers, or slather it on fresh baked bread. 

A bowl of pasta with chive and parsley pesto

Just in case you were ever curious about what this food blogger loves to eat most on a busy night, this is a great example.  My favorite quick evening meals are simple, and usually meatless, like this vibrant chive and parsley pesto tossed with pasta.  Pesto lovers will love this fresh take on the classic basil pesto.

A bowl of pasta with chive and parsley pesto on a wooden table

Homemade pesto is one of my favorite sauces, so it takes a lot for me to want to fool with it in any way.  Basil is a powerful and unique flavor and has become synonymous with pesto, so it’s hard to think about replacing it, but trust me, work through your hesitation and you’ll be rewarded.  Even perfect foods can be changed up with good results, and this easy herb sauce is proof.  The light oniony flavor of chives is brightened and lightened with fresh parsley and it’s every bit as good as a traditional pesto sauce.

Making chive and parsley pesto in a food processor

I’ve added toasted walnuts, a little lemon juice, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and plenty of grassy extra virgin olive oil to make this delicious spring sauce.  Just a few seconds of whizzing in a food processor does the job.

TIP: I always always always taste my pesto at least once or twice before I commit it to my pasta.  It might need salt, or another squeeze of lemon, and the only way to know is to taste.

chive parsley pesto in a Weck jar

The sauce stays nice and bright green, which is important to me.  I want to see that vibrant spring green, not just taste it!

Tossing pasta with a chive parsley pesto

TIP: make extra when you find fresh chives, and then freeze the sauce for later.  Spoon it into an ice cube tray, freeze, then pop out the cubes and store them in a zip lock freezer bag.

Pasta with Chive Parsley Pesto in a white bowl

How to grow your own chives ~

Chives are super easy to grow, so definitely give them a try.  With their mild onion flavor they’re one of the more versatile herbs in the kitchen.

  • Chives are perennials, meaning they’ll come back year after year.
  • Chives are cold tolerant, and you can grow them in zones 3-10.  When I lived in New Hampshire my chives lived through the snowstorms and came right back each spring.
  • Plant chives in early spring.  They need good sun and lots of water.
  • Chives grow great in large pots, mine were in a half barrel by my back door and it was such a luxury to go out and snip them whenever a dish needed a little something extra.
  • The plant produces pretty edible flowers in May and June.

How can I preserve chives?

  • The best way to preserve fresh chives is to freeze them.
  • Wash and let them dry completely.  Chop or snip them into small pieces.
  • Put the chopped chives on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze for 10 minutes.
  • Load them into zip lock freezer bag, remove any excess air, and zip closed.
  • Use them from frozen, don’t thaw.

An empty bowl of pasta with chive parsley pesto

Tossing pasta with a chive parsley pesto
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4.43 from 21 votes

Chive and Parsley Pesto

Chive and Parsley Pesto ~ Don't save it just for pasta, use it on fish, chicken, sandwiches, burgers, or slather it on fresh baked bread. 
Course Sauce
Cuisine American, Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Yield 4 -6 servings


  • 1 packed cup of fresh parsley leaves small stems are ok, but remove larger ones
  • 2 packed cups fresh chives rough chopped
  • 1 clove peeled garlic
  • juice of 1 lemon 2-3 Tbsp
  • a handful of walnuts toast them in a 350F oven for 10 minutes for more flavor
  • 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup olive oil more if needed
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • 1 lb spaghetti


  • Put the pesto ingredients in a food processor and pulse until broken down. Scrape down the sides of the container, then process until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the container again as necessary. Process in the olive oil until the pesto loosens into a sauce consistency. Taste and adjust any of the ingredients to your liking.
  • Meanwhile cook the pasta in plenty of salted water just until al dente. Toss with a generous amount of pesto, and serve immediately.



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  • Reply
    June 10, 2020 at 7:16 am

    I have just pulled some “volunteer” chives (bulb, root and all ) out of my garden. Will the bulb of the chive plant be too strong to use in pesto?

    • Reply
      June 10, 2020 at 7:25 am

      I haven’t tried, but personally I would just use the greens.

  • Reply
    May 24, 2020 at 7:54 pm

    FYI: I tried to PIN your recipe with the RED Pinintrest button near “Thanks for pinning!” but got an error.
    Invalid URL
    The requested URL “[no URL]”, is invalid.
    Reference #9.8decdd17.1590374835.b3cff8
    I was able to post it with the Pinterest button below your name.
    A am so anxious to try the recipe! All your recipes look so simple and very delicious!

  • Reply
    marianne charbonneau
    May 11, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    going to make this tonite! I’m allergic to basil and usually make my pesto with cilantro. but I have a bag of chives from my organic market & was wondering what to do with it all. I know it will be tasty.

    • Reply
      May 11, 2020 at 3:49 pm

      Hope you love it Marianne, I think the delicate chive flavor is fabulous.

  • Reply
    April 25, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    Paulette from New Hampshire here! During this 2020 #StayHome pandemic I am indulging my love for cooking and have been trying new Pesto Recipes. As soon as I can get to the grocery store for more Parsley I will be giving your recipe a try. I keep some of my herb pots on my sun porch over the winter so I can start harvesting in March and my Chive is definitely begging for another haircut!
    One of my latest passions is fresh pesto slathered on RyVita crackers as a snack or with a bowl of soup. Yes, 64 degrees today, but with snow in our forecast for this week we are still making soup. I will post a picture when I make it! Can’t wait!!!

  • Reply
    September 28, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    Can this be saved for a bit? If I were to double the recipe will it keep in the fridge? If I put it in the freezer will it keep?

    • Reply
      September 28, 2019 at 8:04 pm

      Pesto freezes well, just be sure it’s in an airtight container, and I like to press plastic down onto the surface.

  • Reply
    June 13, 2019 at 8:12 pm

    Is there a nut free version? Or could I just leave the walnuts out?

    • Reply
      June 13, 2019 at 8:48 pm

      Let’s see, you might use sunflower seeds, or another type of seed in place of the nuts.

  • Reply
    April 26, 2019 at 10:41 am

    Do you think it would still be good if I add some basil?

    • Reply
      April 26, 2019 at 11:43 am

      Definitely, basil makes everything delicious!

  • Reply
    Mindy R.
    April 1, 2019 at 8:31 am

    I just bought a bunch of chives because they looked so pretty! Perfect timing Sue 🙂

  • Reply
    April 1, 2019 at 8:05 am

    This sounds delicious! Just checking…no olive oil is needed?

    • Reply
      April 1, 2019 at 8:16 am

      Hey Kristen, April Fools! I just added the olive oil, thanks 😉

      • Reply
        April 1, 2019 at 8:32 am

        Lol! Great!

  • Reply
    April 1, 2019 at 8:04 am

    Sounds fabulous. The ingredient list does not include olive oil. It is only mentioned in your description.

    • Reply
      April 1, 2019 at 8:16 am

      Fixed 🙂

  • Reply
    April 1, 2019 at 3:57 am

    Oh yes! What a terrific meal this would be! I could put this on toast and be a very happy girl. Thanks for the beautiful inspiration 🙂

    • Reply
      April 1, 2019 at 7:30 am

      I never thought of putting it on toast…thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  • Reply
    April 1, 2019 at 2:32 am

    I love all sorts of pesto! This looks fantastic, Sue.