Almond Basil Pesto

Makes 1  1/2 cups:

Lovely, green and herbaceous…it’s pesto! The traditional recipe calls for basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic and EVOO. But think outside the box and you’ll see dozens of ways to play with the recipe. How about arugula in place of basil? Why not use another hard cheese in place of the parm or any variety of soft nuts instead of pricey pine nuts? Here we’ve swapped in crunchy almonds for texture and flavor. Use it anywhere a recipe calls for pesto.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of basil (about 1 cup packed)
  • ¼ cup raw almonds
  • 1/3 cup EVOO
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • ½ tsp salt

Prep It / Blend It:

  • Place the basil, almonds, garlic, cheese, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender. Add half the EVOO and pulse to begin crushing the almonds. Then process or blend the items on high speed while drizzling in the remaining oil. The pesto should have the consistency of a thick spaghetti sauce.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve It:

  • Toss ½ cup of pesto with 1 lb of cooked whole wheat pasta.
  • Spoon 1 – 2 teaspoons of pesto over baked chicken or fish. Seriously yummy!!
  • Spread a few tablespoons of pesto on a plate and arrange caprese salad on top.
  • Mix 1 – 2 teaspoons into scrambled eggs about 1 minute before they’re finished.
  • Spread on crostini (toasted baguette rounds) right before serving.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Pesto freezes beautifully! Spoon the pesto into ice-cube trays and freeze overnight. The next day, pop them out and toss them into a freezer bag and you have perfect individual portions. One cube per person you’re serving.
  • You could use any type of nut really to make pesto. If you don’t care for almonds, try pecans, walnuts or cashews.
  • Parmesan can be expensive. Try Pecorino Romano in place of parm. It’s less expensive and just as tasty.
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