This variation on a traditional basil pesto uses roasted almonds in the place of pine nuts for a subtle earthy flavor. It is simple to make and so versatile. I have tried it on everything from eggs to an upscale charcuterie board (highly recommended!)
This pesto can be garlic forward, so if you are a fan of all things garlic like me, this recipe is for you. I personally enjoy two medium to large cloves.
If you are bit sensitive, try adding one clove first and then adding another if you would like more garlic flavor.
What You'll Need
Two Cloves Kitchen, as an Amazon Affiliate, makes a small percentage from qualified sales made through affiliate links at no cost to you.
- Fresh Basil
- Fresh Garlic
- Parmesan Freshly grated is best, but a package of grated parm will work. Pecorino would also be excellent.
- Olive Oil High quality extra virgin olive oil is worth the investment. I suggest buying smaller bottles to ensure freshness and quality for the life of the oil.
- Roasted Almonds Unsalted roasted almonds are my preference so that you can control the amount of salt in the dish.
- Kosher Salt My favorite is Diamond Crystal kosher salt. It has a less concentrated level of saltiness than table salt because it is shaped into small flakes rather than compact grains, making it harder to oversalt food.
You can also roast your own! Preheat the oven to 350°F. Toss the almonds with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Then roast until you can begin to smell them, 15 to 20 minutes. Stick close by after about 10 minutes and check often as they can burn easily.
How to Make
- Measure out your ingredients
- Blend in a food processor or high speed blender
- That's it!
This recipe is already a variation of the traditional basil pesto with pine nuts. I love a traditional pesto, but this recipe has a subtle warmth and earthiness from the roasted almonds. It is also a bit less expensive (pine nuts can be pricey).
You can try this recipe with different nuts to see what you like best. Walnut or cashew pesto would be lovely.
You could also mix up your greens and add some spinach for a milder flavor or arugula for something more peppery.
How to Store
You can store your pesto in a jar or other airtight container in the fridge for about a week. It can become a darker green when stored. Just mix in a tiny bit of lemon juice or hot water to revive the green color.
Alternately, you can store it in the freezer for up to 6 months.
How to Make this a Meal
You can serve this pesto in so many ways!
Try these suggestions:
- Alongside some Roasted Cherry Tomatoes on the Vine with toasted bread and an assortment of cheeses for a gathering or easy dinner
- Spread onto a Marinated BLT with Chicken
- Dolloped on this delicious Margherita Pizza
- In pasta, like this Aglio Olio e Peperoncino
- Mixed into salad
- Spooned into minestrone or other soups, like this Chicken Pastina Soup or this Instant Pot Chicken Stew
- Served as a part of a charcuterie board
- Dolloped on a protein like pork chops, steak, Italian Chicken Cutlets, or Cast Iron Chicken
- Mixed into scrambled eggs or spread on a plate under a fried egg with some bacon and toast for a breakfast-for-dinner night
I could eat this pesto on just about anything. Let me know if you come up with other ideas for serving!
Recipes You'll Love
Try this pesto with some Roasted Cherry Tomatoes on the Vine.
Spread onto a Marinated BLT with Chicken.
For another great twist on pesto, try this Carrot Top Pumpkin Seed Pesto.
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves only, lightly packed - about 1.5 ounces
- ¼ cup roasted almonds
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves garlic large
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
- Measure and set out all ingredients.
- Place ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or in a high speed blender.
- Blend until well combined, about 30 seconds to 1 minute 30 seconds. I prefer a coarse mixture but blend to your preferred consistency. If needed, turn off the food processor and scrape the sides with a rubber spatula to incorporate any larger pieces of the pesto into the mixture and continue to blend.
- Taste and season with more salt if needed.
- If the mixture is too thick for your liking, add a small amount of water or olive oil and blend.
- Approximate calories are for 2 tablespoons of pesto.
- The recipe above creates about one cup, or about eight 2-tablespoon portions.
- For two cups of basil leaves, I pick the leaves from a 3 ounce container from the grocery store, which is approximately 1.5 ounces of leaves.
- This recipe is very garlic-forward. If you are sensitive, try adding one clove first and then adding another if you would like more garlic flavor.
- It is important to use a mini food processor, food processor or high speed blender. A regular blender may not be able to create even, small cuts of these ingredients.
- This recipe is incredibly versatile - try it in any application you would use traditional pesto in.
- This recipe lasts for up to a week in the fridge and up to 6 months in the freezer.
- If your pesto discolors, you can bring back the vibrant green color with a bit of lemon juice or a small amount of boiling water.
- I would recommend using about 2 tablespoons of pesto for a sandwich or on a protein and more for pasta.
- Freshly grated parmesan is best but pre-grated will also work. You could also use pecorino cheese.
I'll take this over pine nuts any day! Super delicious! 🙂
Glad you liked it!
James Strange says
I love your pesto recipe and the tip to add lemon juice when storing it.
Jere Cassidy says
I always have almonds on hand but never pine nuts so this pesto is easier for me to make and honestly, I love the almonds better.
So glad you liked it, Jere!
Tried this recipe yesterday. Love the use of almonds instead of pine nuts.
This is just the pesto recipe I needed! We cant use pine nuts and the almonds make a perfect substitute! Everyone loved that we made the pesto from scratch!
I’m so happy to hear the almonds worked well for you! Thanks K!
This recipe was perfect, as I had a ton of basil from the garden but no pine nuts in the cupboard. This pesto has great fresh flavor.
Thanks Dana! Glad you enjoyed it.