It was the pesto times, it was, well, the pesto times. We keep things positive here folks!
Pesto is an absolute joy for so many reason, and there are endless ways to make your own. I know this because I feel like I have made them all! However, after all my self-inflicted research, this recipe for basil almond pesto is the clear winner. It’s extremely similar to the traditional basil and pine nut pesto that started the pesto revolution, too. The biggest difference is using almonds instead of pine nuts. Personally, I like to reserve my pine nuts for sweeter endeavors and find that using roasted almonds makes the already perfect concept of pesto even more perfect. So this is my basil almond pesto recipe!
To note: I have experimented with walnuts, pistachios, cashews and sunflower seeds as well, and they are all delish! Enjoy!Print
What You’ll Need
- 3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup roasted, unsalted almonds
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
What You’ll Do
- In a food processor or blender, combine the basil, almonds, Parmesan, garlic, salt, black pepper, and pepper flakes. Pulse 8 to 10 times to break down the ingredients, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the food processor as you pulse about 4 more times, incorporating it bit by bit into the pesto. Your pesto should look well incorporated and stunningly green. Be sure to check on those almonds— they like to hide and act difficult! I am team chunky pesto, but you can make yours as smooth as you like.
- Taste the pesto for seasoning, then transfer to an airtight container and store refrigerated for up to a week.
- When using pesto in pasta dishes, reserve some pasta cooking water before you drain it, then return the pasta to the pan and add the pesto directly to it. Slowly add some of that reserved pasta cooking water, about 1/2 cup at a time, as you stir until your desired creaminess and dreaminess is achieved! Pesto is also delicious in pasta salad, chicken salad, deviled eggs, on all types of meat, on beans, or even as a red sauce sub on pizza.
1. To create the perfect pesto, you can use either a food processor or a blender. I personally think using a food processor is easier, but I have made pesto many times in a blender. The blender route requires a little bit more effort, but just a little bit.
2. Add all ingredients to the food processor or blender EXCEPT for the olive oil.
3. Pulse or blend until ingredients are well broken down. If you are using a blender, this is where you may need to use a spatula to help the ingredients find their way. With the blender turned OFF, stir the ingredients around and keep blending until they are evenly broken down.
4. Now, you’re going to slowly drizzle the olive oil into the food processor as you pulse, incorporating it bit by bit into the pesto. If you are using a blender, add olive oil as you blend if your blender allows, otherwise add it bit by bit however you can.
5. Your pesto should look well incorporated and stunningly green. Be sure to check on those almonds—they like to hide and act difficult! It will come as no surprise to anyone that I am team CHUNKY PESTO, but you can make your basil almond pesto as smooth as you like!
6. Store your pesto in the fridge until you are ready to use it. It should last about a week, but as always, follow your nose!
Pesto is delicious in pasta, pasta salads, chicken salad, deviled eggs, on meat, on eggs, on toasts, or even as a red sauce substitute on pizza! The pestobilities are endless.
For pasta dishes, add the pesto into your cooked pasta. Slowly add some pasta water as you stir in your pesto until you achieve your desired creaminess and dreaminess!