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Healthy You

Fresh Recipes: Homemade Pistachio “Gelato”

Tuesday, July 24, 2018 7:24 AM

Summer brings the heat and leaves us reaching for cool, refreshing treats. Lynn Tucker, Registered Dietitian and Diabetes Educator at NorthShore, shares a homemade “gelato” that tastes good and is good for you. While this recipe has a few steps* involved, Lynn Tucker assures that it is well worth it!


*This does not require an ice cream maker.

Recipes makes 4 servings.


  • ¼ cup shelled, unsalted pistachios
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • ¾ cup plain full-fat Greek yogurt
  • ½ vanilla bean**  



  1. Put a loaf pan or metal pie pan into your freezer at least 2 hours before making your gelato.
  2. Place pistachios into a food processor and blend for several minutes. They should become a paste and be very smooth.
  3. Vigorously whisk egg yolk with honey in a small bowl.
  4. Optional: If you have a vanilla bean – highly recommended for flavor – cut vanilla bean in half, then split it open lengthwise. Scrape vanilla bean seeds out of the pod with the back of a paring knife.
  5. Heat milk, vanilla bean seeds and vanilla bean pod on low-medium heat in a small saucepan. Watch carefully until small bubbles form at the edges of the pan – it should simmer but not boil.
  6. Add half of the hot milk into the bowl with the egg yolk and honey one spoonful at a time, whisking constantly.
  7. Then add the egg yolk, honey and milk mixture back to the saucepan and whisk vigorously. Let the mixture heat at low-to-medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. The mixture should simmer but not boil.
  8.  Turn off the heat. Add pistachio paste and mix very well. It should be smooth and may be starting to thicken.
  9. Pour the mixture into a bowl and cover. Place in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes. It should be completely cooled.
  10. Remove the vanilla bean pod and add the Greek yogurt and whisk until smooth.
  11. Pour the mixture into your cold pan that was in the freezer. Then place it in the freezer.
  12. Every 15 minutes, take the mixture out and either whisk or use a hand mixer to stir it up. Then put it back in the freezer and repeat until it is the consistency you enjoy. These steps are important so the gelato does not form ice crystals. It tastes best eaten fresh when it reaches a consistency closest to frozen yogurt or soft serve. If you aren’t ready to eat it, once it reaches this consistency you can transfer to a container with a lid and leave in the freezer.
  13. Top with chopped pistachios if desired. (⅛ cup pistachios = additional 32 calories)

Tip: Before serving, let it sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes to soften up a little bit. It has a lot less fat than normal ice cream or gelato so will freeze harder and not be scoopable right out of the freezer if it’s not fresh.

Nutrition info (per serving):

Calories: 192
Fat: 9 g
Protein: 7 g
Carbs: 21 g
Sugar (from honey): 16 g
Fiber: 1 g
Sodium: 22 mg

Compare to store-bought gelato (per serving):

Calories: 250 calories
Fat: 16 g
Protein: 5 g
Carbs: 23 g
Sugar: 9 g
Fiber: 1 g