We love pesto but don’t love the price of pine nuts. Through experimentation, we have decided that almonds make a great alternative (they are cheaper and healthier!).
Typically, Alex and I will make a batch of pesto, eat some on pasta, and then store the rest in a mason jar. It will last quite awhile and is nice to have on hand because you can use it to *glam* up a lot of simple dishes! Put it on your pasta, sandwiches, pizza, salads, crackers, anything really. The suggestion below is for a relatively small batch but you can definitely make it in larger amounts.
This post is short and sweet, and mostly a reminder to experiment in the kitchen. I have never written down the exact recipe we use for pesto and I’m sure it has ended up a little different each time. That is totally part of the fun. Start with the almonds, determined by how much pesto you want to make, then add your other ingredients based on taste! It doesn’t matter if it ends up being the most authentic pesto or not, what matters is that you like it and it’s enjoyable to make. Have fun!
Basil Amond Pesto
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- Basil (approx. 4 oz)
- Lemon Juice (approx. 1/2 lemon)
- Parmesan cheese (vegan? blend in some nutritional yeast flakes)
- Olive oil
- Salt + pep
Important: Make sure you have LOTS of basil! We did a whole 4 oz. pack from Trader Joe’s (our plant didn’t have enough to make it from our little herb garden) but could have easily used more…we love it!
- Blend up the almonds a bit to get them started – it will be really loud and take awhile but eventually it will start moving! If it is really not blending up, add a little olive oil.
- Add some basil and blend! (save some back so you can taste and then add more later depending on how strong a basil taste you want!)
- Begin adding everything else in little bits, tasting as you go. Have fun using your taste buds to steer you in the right direction of proportions. Tip? Don’t go crazy on any one ingredient before you add a little of all of them. Once you add a whole bunch of salt, you can’t take it back – so go little by little until you hit the perfect combo!
We sautéed chicken thighs (cut into bite sized pieces) in a cast iron pan with olive oil. Once cooked through, we removed the chicken and cooked mushrooms, chopped red bell pepper, and zucchini in the same pan, seasoned with a little salt and pepper. Once everything was done, we loaded up our plates with as much pasta, pesto, and toppings as we could eat, seasoning everything with some red pepper flakes and extra parmesan cheese!
It definitely hit the spot!