Easy Basil Pesto (Vegan or Not)


All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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vromans back

Pesto is a lovely thing – when used sparingly.  I loathe a pesto pasta that is heavy with oily dense pesto – but if the pesto is light & clean & used delicately – it really is yummy.

Traditionally – it is made with pine nuts.  I have sworn off pine nuts ever since a friend got “pine mouth.”  Pine mouth is a horrid metallic taste that overwhelms your mouth whenever you eat or drink.  It is from eating rancid pine nuts.  Apparently, pine nuts have a relatively short shelf life & many come from China, Korea, Russia and Vietnam.  Nobody seems to really understand pine mouth but there is one easy way to avoid ever getting it – avoid pine nuts.  Easy.  Pine nuts are rich & greasy & are used way too liberally & frequently – much like sun-dried tomatoes in the eighties.  Fuck you, pine nuts.  I never like you much, anyway.

So – you can make pesto with almost any other nut – like pecans, walnuts, cashews, pistachios or – as I did here – with almonds.   You can toast the nuts or not – it does not matter much.

The real news here is the concept of blanching the basil.  I read that it makes for a smoother & more vibrantly green pesto.  Vibrant green is nice to photograph – so I blanched my basil.  Judge the results yourself.  If you wanna skip the blanching – there will be no repercussions.  I promise.

Traditionally – real Parmesan is used and I used it here.  If you are vegan – just use vegan Parmesan.

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Easy Basil Pesto (Vegan or Not)

Makes a lot


6 oz (or 4 packed cups) fresh basil

1/2 cup almonds

1/2 cup grated Parmesan (or vegan alternative)

2 garlic cloves

1/4 cup olive oil

S&P to taste

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Blanch the basil by submerging it in boiling water for about 30 seconds.  Drain & plunge into cold water to stop its cooking. Squeeze the water out.

Puree all ingredients in a blender or food processor.  I add water in tiny increments to thin it & to facilitate the blending.

Season with S&P.

I put mine into sandwich bags in small portions & froze it for later use.  Works great!

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2 thoughts on “Easy Basil Pesto (Vegan or Not)

  1. Hi Christine….thanks for this new recipe – I’m using up all the basil in my vegie garden before our first cold snap hits and then freezing it for winter doldrums. I’m glad you mentioned that walnuts and almonds make great replacement for pine nuts. Never heard of that condition but gross! Pine nuts are also grown in Israel and can be very costly! I gave up having them around for pesto making awhile ago but mostly due to cost. I’m going to keep reading your site here as you’ve inspired me to get back to being vegetarian like my hubby Gideon. Great site for recipes. And your informative information about eating healthy. BTW, have you heard anything about Rasberry Ultra drops for weight loss and their safety and effectiveness? Thanks. Mary Rurkowski


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