Summer is THE time to make your favorite pesto recipe! And even if you’ve got a go-to recipe, this almond basil pesto is definitely worth a try. Of course, fresh basil is the star ingredient but when you add some suped-up nuts, you’re going to taste the difference.
Pesto hasn’t been a big thing in our house. Yes, it’s always a delicious add-on ingredient for pasta and sandwiches. But truthfully, we’ve never been so overrun with basil from our summer gardens that I need to make batches and batches of pesto.
Unlike other kitchen herbs that I always have growing on my deck, basil eludes me. I just can’t seem to get the growing conditions right. Never the right balance of sun and water to produce the basil bushes I’ve always dreamed of having.
So. I buy basil.
Not Nut Free Pesto
Believe it or not, I’ve only made pesto with nuts in it one other time in all the years I’ve been cooking. Kyle had a tree nut allergy that always prevented me from adding nuts to recipes – which, I’ve never been a huge fan of from the beginning anyway – so I’ve been making nut free basil pesto and sundried tomato pesto recipes for years.
This new recipe is NOT nut free. It’s got almonds. MARCONA almonds. Which, as the nut novice that I am, are apparently diamonds in the almond world. (Note that the photos here show pine nuts – either work fine for this pesto recipe!)
Look at me being all fancy!
Marcona almonds hail from Spain and are higher in “good” fats than California almonds are. They’re a little larger and flatter than regular almonds so they absorb the flavors they are cooked with a little better.
For this pesto recipe, you’ll need roasted almonds. So, any kind of roasted almond will work if you can’t find Marcona almonds.
A Covid-Era Cooking Class
This recipe actually came to me as part of a 2-part recipe by way of one of my favorite Instagrammers, @grossypelosi (no relation to Nancy). I joined a live-streamed cooking event back in April hosted by Murray’s Cheese where we made the 2 recipes with Dan Pelosi while he chatted with us about the recipe and his (and our) love of food for about an hour and a half one Thursday night.
As part of the event ticket we purchased, Murray’s sent each of the participants most of the ingredients needed for the recipe from their shops. This included four types of cheese, marinara sauce, and Marcona almonds. It was like I hit the jackpot!!
Almond Basil Pesto Ingredients
Here’s the basic shopping list of ingredients for this pesto recipe. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card below for the full list with amounts!
- fresh basil
- roasted almonds
- Parmesan cheese
- fresh garlic
- salt and pepper
- red pepper flakes (optional)
- olive oil
How to Freeze Pesto
To make the most of your summer basil – whether it be from your garden or local CSA or farm market – you can make a huge amount and freeze it.
I have frozen basil two different ways before:
- In a snack-size zip-top bag with all of the air squeezed out.
- In ice cube trays.
Using zip-top bags allows you freeze the pesto flat so it takes up less freezer space to store.
Freezing pesto in ice cube trays works great too! While the frozen cubes (in baggies) take up a little extra freezer space, the benefit is that you’ve got smaller portions that can be quickly tossed into a hot pan for a quick pesto pasta sauce or thawed and drizzled over things like pizza, roasted vegetable orzo salad, and crostini.
I seriously loved this pesto so much and I can’t wait to use my frozen leftovers in the freezer for another delicious meal or paired as a dip for crusty bread with my favorite olive oil dipping sauce!
Almond Basil Pesto
Pesto is the ultimate summer sauce for drizzling over pasta, pizza, eggs, ricotta toast, and caprese salad. This basil pesto recipe is made with roasted almonds in place of pine nuts which takes the flavor to another level of delicious!
- About 2 cups (2 oz) fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup roasted almonds or pine nuts
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 large garlic cloves (or 3 to 4 smaller cloves), peeled
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, add all of the pesto ingredients except the oil. Pulse until roughly chopped.
- With the processor on, drizzle the oil through the feed tube in a slow stream. Blend the pesto until it reaches your desired consistency. I like it with just a tiny bit of texture left in it.
adapted from Grossy Pelosi (Dan Pelosi)
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