06 September 2012

Smoked Almond Basil Pesto

The first time I'd tried pesto, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.  Whoever first thought of creaming basil, garlic, pine nuts and Parmesan is a genius.  Well done you...your life was well spent.  Though traditional pesto is phenomenal, it is also incredibly versatile.  This is one of the things I love the most about pesto - its playfulness.  You can dress it up or down in any way you like.  Swap the nuts, sub another type of cheese, play with your greens.  Just process the heck out of it and smear onto your favorite carb, protein or fruit.  You will be happy.

This pesto recipe isn't a far stretch from the basic.  You have your basil, Parmesan and garlic.  But rather than buttery pine nuts, here smoked almonds help to provide a distinctly different flavor profile.  Pesto can be rather bright at times, but this one is a little more subtle and a little more rich.  An extra oomph of chipotle adds even more smoke to the flavor without a lot of heat.

Look at that...you can see the little dark flecks of smoked almond goodness.  Yum.....

The result is a pesto that is fantastic with smoked fish, grilled meats or a nice rich Pinot Noir.  Smear it on your pizza crust, toss it with your pasta, stir it into soup or just dunk in a slice of red pepper.  Delish, easy and versatile.  I love condiments.

Oh, and a storage tip!  To help prevent browning, press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pesto in the your dish rather than tenting.  You can also sprinkle a bit of lemon juice on the top, but keep in mind it'll change the flavor a bit.

Smoked Almond Basil Pesto (6-12 very happy servings)

  • 1/2 c parsley, packed
  • 1 c basil, packed
  • 1/4 c smoked almonds, slightly heaping
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/8 tsp ground chipotle chile
  • 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbs water
  • salt & pepper to taste
Combine parsley, basil, almonds, Parmesan, garlic and chipotle chile in a food processor.  Add 1 tablespoon of the water and oil and process together.  When roughly chopped, add the remaining oil and water.  You can extra of either to achieve the consistency you most prefer in a pesto.  Spread on everything under the sun.


  1. Replies
    1. Trust me, it is! Hope you made and enjoyed this delectable spread.

  2. This is delicious! It is rich and yet sharp, really lovely sauce for pasta

    I didn't add the chipotle as I'm not sure it needed spice, it was punchy enough as it is!

    1. For me the chipotle adds more smokiness rather than heat, but glad to hear it's great without! Sooooo good on pasta.