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This Basil Almond Pesto recipe is super easy to make, especially when you have an abundance of basil and/or fresh garlic from the garden! Fresh pesto from the garden is one of my favorite things, made with a handful of ingredients that are good for you too!
Traditional pesto recipes use pine nuts which are not easy to find and are rather expensive. But don’t worry because you can still have delicious homemade pesto sauce by swapping the pine nuts for almonds.
This pesto also uses less oil, making it a healthier option than store brands. So skip the traditional pine nuts in classic basil pesto, and give almonds a try!
The taste of this almond basil pesto recipe is just as delicious, and it is a versatile sauce that goes fantastic on pasta and many other dishes!
Ways to Use Pesto:
- baked on chicken breasts
- as a condiment on sandwiches
- as a condiment on your avocado toast
- top your scrambled eggs or mix into an omelet
- toss some potatoes in pesto and roast them
- add as a topping to a baked potato
- add to mashed potatoes
- add to homemade salad dressings
- put it on top of pizzas
- put it on a slice of focaccia bread
- use it to make bruschetta
- add a dollop to your favorite soup
- use as a veggie dip
- stir it into butter for a delicious herb butter
- add a dollup on top of your favorite San Marzano Tomato Sauce
Once you have this easy pesto recipe down, you can really mix things up with it though and make your own pesto recipes, or see down below for more pesto options and and different ways to make other homemade basil pesto variations!
How to Make Basil Almond Pesto
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Processing Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Storage: refrigerate in airtight container for up to one week, or freeze
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup whole raw almonds
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon salt, to start
- 4 cloves garlic cloves
- ½ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil (you’ll add this gradually and can adjust amount to taste)
- Place the basil leaves, almonds, Parmesan cheese, salt and garlic cloves in a food processor.
- Process until the almonds have broken down and you have a thickish paste.
- While the food processor is spinning gradually add the olive oil, you can start with ¼ cup and process then stop and check the consistency. If you’d like a thinner and creamier pesto add the remaining ¼ cup for a total of ½ cup.
- Once you have a smooth pesto taste and if needed adjust the salt if desired.
- Store the pesto in glass jar until ready to use. It’ll keep fresh in the refrigerator for about one week or you could also freeze for later use. I like to freeze single servings for small portions in an ice cube tray. After it freezes, pop them out and store in a freezer bag. Frozen pesto cubes are great to use for adding to a bowl of soup, smearing on a sandwich, or homemade pizza! Or, freeze larger batches in freezer safe bags or mason jars.
Homemade Pesto Variations:
There are almost endless ways to mix up your pesto options!
- Other herb options for pesto: Skip the basil altogether, or use it in combination with other herbs. Use parsley instead of basil to make a parsley pesto! Or feel free to add in any other fresh herbs that sound good to you such as dill, cilantro, sage, mint, chives or even hot red pepper flakes.
- Other basil options for pesto: Italian large leaf basil is the classic go to, but mix things up a bit! Try a purple basil for a fun color, a lemon basil for a lemony twist, Thai basil, sweet basil or even cinnamon basil are other options you could play with.
- Garlic Scape Pesto: This is one of my favorite pesto's of all time! Skip the garlic cloves and use the garlic scapes! Read more about garlic scapes in my article The Differences Between Hardneck vs Softneck Garlic.
- Healthy greens pesto: Use healthy greens in place of basil or along with the basil, greens such as spinach, kale, swiss chard, mustard greens, even carrot tops make for a great healthy pesto option!
- Veggie pesto: add some sundried tomatoes, olives or roasted bell peppers to get more veggies in your pesto and for great added flavor!
- Other nut options for pesto: Nuts like pine nuts are used in the classic pesto recipe, but you can skip them altogether if you like, or mix them up! Other options are walnuts, pecans, cashews, pistachios, macadamia nuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds are all great options!
- Other cheese options for pesto: You can totally skip the cheese altogether if you are vegan or following a plant based diest. But any hard cheese will work great in place of parmesan. Other cheese options to consider are parmigiano reggiano, pecorino romano, manchego, cotija are just a few!
- Citrus Pesto: Lemon is another great addition to pesto, consider adding some lemon juice or lemon zest to add another twist to this recipe. Or mix things up with orange or lime!
Basil Almond Pesto Recipe
- Place the basil leaves, parmesan cheese, almonds, salt and garlic cloves in a food processor.
- Process the ingredients in the food processor until the almonds have broken down and you have a thickish paste.
- While the food processor is spinning gradually add the olive oil, you can start with ¼ cup and process then stop and check the consistency. If you’d like a creamier or thinner pesto sauce, add the remaining ¼ cup for a total of ½ cup.
- Once you have a consistency you like, taste the pesto and if needed adjust the salt if desired.
- Store the pesto in an air tight container until ready to use. I love storing it in a mason jar. It will keep fresh in the refrigerator for about one week or you could also freeze for later use.
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