Pesto Recipe without the costly Pine Nuts

So I’ve never made my own Pesto before until the other day! I made a very small batch, probably just enough to use one time. I currently have just come home from being away at school and found my basil plant needed a serious hair cut! Right now I am growing two different basil plants indoors; regular basil and greek basil. The greek basil has spicy notes and seems to be more bushy with smaller leaves than the regular basil plant. Anyways, half of the greek basil was brown and dead, was growing so high it was falling on top of itself, and in need of some serious lovin. So I gave it just that!

Once I cut back the tops I thought what can I do with all this basil? Pesto. Yes, pesto. The one thing I’ve always wanted to make but never have for some odd reason. I was exasperated by the price of pine nuts one day when I went to the grocery store, and thought, nope that’s not going to happen. But, I had just brought home a free sample of Almond Butter from work and thought this will do! (I hope you die hard Italian folks don’t think any less of me)

When, I cook I sort of just haphazardly use ingredients, because unlike baking, cooking is not an exact science, which I love! And somehow my stuff always comes out pretty great, not to toot my own horn. Let me tell you the pesto I made was mighty delicious and I would love to share it with you, so here it goes!

Almond Basil Pesto

Makes about one serving.

I recommend 5x the recipe if you want a larger batch or if your using a food processor! Because I used a mortar and pestle it was okay making a small batch like the recipe listed below.

  • About a cup of fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup of Almond Butter
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tbls. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbls. fresh Parmesan
  • juice from 1/3 of fresh lemon
  • dash of fresh ground pepper
  • dash of salt
Method of Preparation
  1. Remove all stems from the basil sprigs, you basically only want the leaves, and make sure they are washed.

    This is a mortar and pestle. I was lacking one for the longest time until my handsome boyfriend got me one as a birthday present! What a gem. It comes in very handy very often!

  2. Place the basil leaves in a mortar and pestle (what I used) or you can also use a food processor.
  3. If your using a mortar and pestle grind the basil until you get a pasty consistency.
  4. Then you can add the rest of your ingredients making sure to really get that garlic clove smashed up and combined well. Also make sure the almond butter is combined thoroughly.
  5. If you are using a food processor you can place all the ingredients right in there and pulse it until it reaches a smooth consistency.

That’s it! Its that simple. If you’re making a large batch you can always portion the pesto into ice cube trays and freeze it. This way you can enjoy homemade pesto, easily, year round. If you do not have almond butter on hand, you could probably use any mild flavored nut butter (I wouldn’t recommend peanut butter), pine nuts of course, or maybe even a mild cooked bean.

Pesto can serve many purposes and be used as a very tasty additive to many dishes. You also get the great health benefits of this amazing herb. I personally used mine the next day as a pesto cream sauce (cream not so healthy.. oops!) for my gluten free pasta I made for my mom! I also added some citrus marinated diced tomatoes for a fresh topper to this rich dish! It was delicious and mom even liked it! Whoopie!

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