This Almond and Basil Pesto, with sweet almonds, aromatic basil, tangy garlic and lemon whirled into a dairy or non-dairy cheesy pesto has become my favorite pesto.
What Is Pesto?
Call it the green dressing in your egg salad, the sauce on your summer pasta, but let’s call it green brilliance!
A hefty schmear on a slice of homemade bread, or an even better topping on a summertime Pesto Pizza is how I like to indulge in pesto.
I call pesto; the best creation of any sauce made from garden herbs. Whirl into a sauce to eat on just about anything.
Almonds In Pesto
Since I like lots of garlic in my pesto (fabulous immune booster), I find the sweetness of almonds, a great balance to the tang of the garlic.
Furthermore, I’ve come to love garlic more, now that I’ve started growing my own and found that the scapes (the green shoots above ground), grow in winter for all my soups!
Lightly ground almonds, in the pesto, also gives a little crunch to the texture. Makes for a lovely dressing in egg salad, or a spread on celery sticks.
Summertime Basil Pesto
Can you think of a more delicious use for the abundant basil growing in your summertime pots?
The delicate leaves puree easily into a smooth spread. Almonds, being also delicate in flavor, will not detract from the taste of the basil.
What Type Of Basil For Pesto
Most commonly used basil for pesto is the gentle flavored, almost sweet Italian basil. Soft, floppy leaves of green.
Thai basil can also be used in pesto, but be prepared for a very different flavor! This very aromatic basil smells and tastes a bit more like fennel with a slightly spicier flavor.
If making pesto with Thai basil, I would definite go with an earthier tasting nut, like walnut, or even peanuts. What a great flavor for a delicate white fish!
Purple basil is also a great choice but again, with a different flavor. This basil has a strong clove flavor.
Pesto is a good use for purple basil because it remains raw and keeps its color. Cooking purple basil, however, turns the leaf to an unappealing black color.
How To Make Pesto
- First, pick the fresh leaves from your basil plant or store bought bundle. Wash and pat dry.
- Second, give a quick whirl in the blender or food processor of the almonds, then remove them.
- Last, place all the ingredients into the blender or food processor, placing the wet ingredients in first and top with almonds, whirl until the desired paste is obtained. Remove and serve or store in a closed container
- Food processor or blender
- Garlic press
- Citrus press
- Measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Rubber spatula
- Airtight container
- Basil leaves
- Cheese – non dairy or dairy. I prefer Pecorino for pesto
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice
Almond and Basil Pesto
- Basil leaves – 2 cups
- Almonds – 1/2 cup
- Pecorino cheese – 1/3 cup, or non-dairy
- Garlic – 3 cloves
- Olive oil – 1/3 cup
- Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
- Salt – 1/2 tsp or to taste
- Place the leaves, almonds and garlic in a processor. Grind until the nuts are broken, but not to a powder.
- Add the salt, lemon juice and cheese and puree. While the machine is running, pour in the olive oil. Taste and adjust the salt.