One of my favorite things about living in this little house in Australia is an area of our backyard I refer to as “the garden.” In reality its a few large pots outside the backdoor where we grow basil, chives, oregano, and mint. I never knew how handy this little backyard garden would be until running out of ingredients for a recipe and substituting with something from the yard – which happens quite often.
Ben grew up on a farm and knows all about how to not kill a plant; so with him around and google I can keep these herbs alive I’m sure of it!
Before I get started on this Almond Basil Pesto recipe I must warn you… I steered clear of the green oily stuff after a bad experience years ago. But obviously if I am writing a pesto recipe this must be good, right? Right! This Almond Basil Pesto is delicious!! Beyond what I ever thought pesto could taste like. I am a changed lady after whipping this up.. and it was so easy!!
First I started by toasting quarter cup of almonds on a baking sheet in the oven for ten minutes. You should be able to smell something nutty, that’s when you know these are done. Something always seems a bit nutty around my house, but while these were toasting the boys were all out, so the only nut was in my oven.
Sorry for the lame joke. I couldn’t help myself. While those nuts were toasting I headed out to the garden and picked a few stems of basil and began removing the leaves until I had a cup and a half.
Throw (or place gently) your basil leaves in the bottom of a food processor (or blender), followed by the almonds, and one and a half teaspoons of minced garlic.
Typically people make pesto in a food processor… but if you are like me and don’t own one of those, you can make it in your standard blender on a high setting.
While your ingredients are chopping, measure out a half of a cup of olive oil to add to the blender.
We really have way too many bugs in Australia, and each time they land on me I flip. This is the result of me flipping as I tried to put the cap back on the bottle of olive oil.
Blend the ingredients until they are soft, and all of your almonds are chopped finely. With the ingredients still mixing, begin to slowly add the oil, evenly until combined. If you are using a blender like I did, be weary of the splash zone.
After you have finished blending, place pesto in a shallow bowl and mix in a pinch of freshly cracked pepper and less than a quarter cup of parmesan cheese mixing until thoroughly combined.
After whipping up this Almond Basil Pesto I made THE BEST Grilled Cheese and Pesto Sandwich for lunch. Seriously, I wish I had made more, it was THAT good! The Kitchn did a great job at rounding up a list of dishes that pesto would taste great in their post for 10 Ways to Use Pesto Besides Pasta if you are looking for more great ideas.
- 1/4 cup almonds
- 1 1/2 cups fresh basil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- pinch of pepper
- 1/4 cup of cheese (I used just a bit less)
- Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C).
- Lay out almonds in a single layer on baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes, or until the an almond aroma fills the air.
- Place almonds, basil, and garlic in a food processor and pulse until almonds have been grinded down and ingredients look wet.
- In a slow even stream, with food processor on, carefully pour olive oil into the mixture.
- Once olive oil is combined, pour pesto into small bowl and add pepper and cheese. Stir until combined.