Basil almond pesto? Finally, a pesto recipe without pine nuts! This basil almond pesto recipe comes together in just a few minutes and is an excellent option for fresh pesto without pine nuts which can be pretty expensive.
This pesto without pine nuts tastes like traditional basil pesto, and it beats anything you might pick up at the grocery store (if I do say so myself!).
Why you'll love this recipe
This is one of my favorite easy pesto recipes. I love the creamy texture and sweet, nutty flavor of the almonds, and the basil flavor is so fresh and bright! It's also a great vegetarian pesto because it doesn't contain any cheese (it can easily be made vegan if you omit the grated cheese in the final step).
I used to make pesto with pine nuts, but since they are expensive and hard to find, I started making pesto with almonds instead. And you know what? I think it's even better! The almonds give this pesto a rich and creamy texture without any heavy cream or butter.
Some pesto facts
Pesto Alla Genovese is a sauce that comes from Genoa, Italy, made with crushed garlic, pine nuts, coarse salt, basil leaves, and hard cheese such as Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Sardo (either of which may be substituted with Romano), and olive oil. It is usually prepared using a marble mortar and wooden pestle. However, it can be made in a food processor or blender.
A note about pine nuts
Pine nuts are expensive for several reasons. First, pine nuts are the seeds from pine trees, and to harvest them, someone has to climb up into the tree and shake it. Then they have to be cracked open, which requires a machine. And finally, the pine nut shells must be separated from the meat – another time-consuming process.
Almond basil pesto is a delicious, flavorful twist on traditional pesto. It's made with fresh basil, toasted almonds, garlic, and Parmesan cheese, and it's perfect for slathering on pasta or spreading on toast. Ingredients
- Toasted Almonds: Opt for getting roasted almonds, if raw almonds are your only option, toasting them beforehand will result in a rich deeper flavor. Read below and in the recipe card for instructions for a toasted almond recipe.
- Garlic cloves: I used a single (giant) clove of Elephant garlic but use what you have on hand! I like the bite of raw garlic flavor in pesto, but if you don't want the taste of raw garlic, adjust the amount accordingly.
- Extra-virgin olive oil: Keep an eye out for when you last used your olive oil! Olive oil can go rancid quickly and that jug you purchased on sale may do more harm than good!
- Fresh basil leaves: Basil is available all year long but the flavor of locally grown basil, from your own garden or. a farmstand can't be beaten! Basil is a great plant to include in your kithcne herb garden or in your raised beds this summer.
- Pecorino Romano: Swap in your favorite hard Italian cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano or other hard Italian cheeses. We like Locatelli but use what you want! Add in bread crumbs or nutritional yeast if you are making a vegan version.
- Salt & Pepper: Use your favorite course sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste.
This roasted almond basil pesto recipe has five ingredients (not including salt and pepper) and comes together in less than 15 minutes.
Toast the Almonds
- In a pan over medium heat, add almonds and toast until they are fragrant and golden brown on both sides.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
Make basil pesto with almonds
- Add the garlic, almonds, and basil leaves in a food processor fitted with a metal blade.
- Pulse until finely minced.
- Slowly add oil while the food processor runs until ingredients are well combined.
- Add additional olive oil as desired to achieve your desired consistency.
- The pesto should be smooth but with some texture. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
Storing and freezing homemade pesto
Once in a container, add a thin layer of olive oil to the pesto and store in an airtight container or store in ice cube trays in the freezer. Those pesto cubes will be handy for enjoying fresh basil flavor all year long.
The bright green from the basil may be less vibrant after storing in the freezer and maybe a bit brown, but it still is a delicious sauce. You can also keep your pesto in freezer bags and spread the sauce to the bags so that they lie flat in the freezer. Make sure to top freezer bags with a layer of extra virgin olive oil to keep your herbs looking as fresh as possible.
Pesto Pasta and other Serving Suggestions
This pesto has a distinct, flavorful taste that can be used in various dishes.
Pesto is usually used as a pasta sauce. It's excellent on spaghetti or penne, and it can be combined with other ingredients to create more complex sauces.
For example, pesto combined with tomato sauce makes an excellent topping for ravioli. Pesto is great as a pizza topping or mixed into your favorite casserole recipes to add extra flavor. It can be used outside of pasta and more as a condiment. For example, you can toss it with pasta for an easy meal, or you can take a dip for vegetables or crackers.
This versatile sauce makes a great salad dressing when combined with balsamic vinegar and tossed over salad greens. Here are some additional suggestions, but let your imagination run wild!
- Add a dollop of pesto to pasta dishes such as spaghetti or ravioli.
- Toss a few tablespoons of pesto with your favorite pasta salad recipe.
- Combine pesto with balsamic vinegar and toss salad greens for a tasty salad dressing.
- Spread pesto on pizza dough before adding other toppings.
- Stir several tablespoons of pesto into minestrone for added flavor.
- Spread pesto onto chicken breasts before baking or grilling.
- Add a spoonful of pesto to scrambled eggs for extra flavor.
- Mix in a dollop into a noodle soup on a cold day
If you have raw almonds, make sure to toast the almonds first to enhance the flavor of the almonds and make them nuttier. I like to roast them on the stovetop until they're golden brown and then let them cool before adding them to the blender or food processor with the rest of the ingredients.
It's important not to over-process or pulse too much otherwise;, you might end up with almond butter! You want to keep some texture there, so it doesn't get too smooth.
The answer is yes because pesto is a sauce that includes roughly chopped basil leaves, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese. In addition, Basil pesto is a green sauce that is typically served with pasta.
Tomatoes and basil are the essential ingredients that makeup pesto, but you can add various flavors to your pesto to make it taste better.
-minced garlic and shallots
-parsley, basil, or cilantro
Pistachios, cashews, and walnuts can be a great source of protein for your pesto.
A good pine nut substitute for pesto is walnuts.
- 50g almonds
- 80g fresh basil leaves
- 50g pecorino romano
- 150ml extra virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
Toast the almonds
- in the oven at 350F for 8-10 minutes, stirring once or twice throughout, until they turn a light golden brown.
- Remove them from the oven to cool.
Make Almond Basil Pesto
- Add the basil leaves and garlic to a food processor and a pinch of salt.
- Process until finely chopped.
- Add the cooled almonds, then process again until finely chopped.
- Drizzle olive oil in a thin stream while the food processor is running.
- Add cheese and pulse until combined.
- Taste and add more salt if needed.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 32 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 54Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 30mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g
Did you make this pesto with toasted almonds?
I hope you enjoy this Almond Basil Pesto recipe! It's so easy to make and tastes great on so many things! If you made this recipe, please drop a comment below! I'd love to hear how you liked it. Feel free to check out other pantry recipes.
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