Pistachio Pesto Sausage

The Pistachio Pesto Sausage has always felt like a “light” sausage to me, even though sausages are inherently heavy. I think this sausage pairs well with a simple olive oil pasta and roasted vegetables.

Raw ingredients for Pistachio Pesto Sausage


  • 5 lbs of Pork Shoulder
  • 12 oz Basil
  • 2 oz Mint
  • 4 oz ground pistachio
  • 1.5 Cups of Shredded Parmesan
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1 TBSP Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 TBSP Ground Paprika
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers
  • 5 Garlic Cloves
  • 5.75 teaspoons of Coarse Kosher Salt
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon

Step 1 – Chopping

Chop up your pork shoulder into pieces small enough to fit through your meat grinder. Discard pieces of bone, extra tough fat, and pieces of fat that that are extra stringy. Too much of this type of fat can clog the meat grinder. Put the meat in the freezer until it is almost starting to freeze.

Step 2 – Make the Pesto

Add pistachios, garlic, and olive oil to a food processor and blend. Then, add basil, mint, lemon zest, and Parmesan and blend. This pesto has a lot less olive oil than it usually would because the fat in the sausage will act as the oil when you cook the sausage! Adding too much olive oil would result in a greasy and crumbly sausage.

Step 3 – Roast the Red Bell Peppers

Rub the bell peppers with olive oil and roast in the oven on a pan at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. Flip the peppers and cook for another 10 minutes or until the peppers skins are partially blackened. Remove the skins and seeds once they have cooled (you can dunk the roasted peppers in icy water to speed up the process) and chop into thumb sized pieces. Put in the refrigerator. Before adding to the sausages you will want to put them in the freezer for about 15-20 minutes.

Step 4 Grinding

Put the meat in the freezer until it is almost starting to freeze and run it through the meat grinder.  Put the meat back in the freezer until almost frozen.

Step 5 – Mixing

Add the salt, black pepper, and paprika and mix. Then, add the pesto. Make sure to really pound and knead the meat thoroughly so that you can push the oxygen out of it, which will create a smoother texture. Put the meat into the freezer until almost frozen.

Step 6 – Stuffing

Add semi-frozen pieces of roasted red bell pepper. Immediately add the sausage to the stuffer and start stuffing! If the red bell pepper defrosts too much, it may smoosh during the stuffing process.

Uncooked Pistachio Pesto Sausages on a white platter with pistachios and mint.
Don’t they just look heavenly?

Step 7 – Cooking

I usually recommend waiting at least 24 hours, but preferable 48 hours, to let the flavors meld together.

I recommend smoking or baking until they reach 150-160 degrees and then throwing them on a pan for a final sear.

Pistachio Pesto Sausage served with capellini, roasted squash, and tomato.
Pistachio Pesto Sausages served with capellini, roasted squash, and tomato.

Step 8 – Plating

This sausage goes great with a simple pasta with roasted yellow squash and tomato. Alternatively, this sausage can really be used in just about any dish that is conducive to pesto.

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