Cashew basil pesto is a fresh and flavorful multipurpose spread that uses fresh basil leaves, cashews, and olive oil. Slather on crusty bread, schmear in sandwiches, or toss with your favorite pasta. Delightfully fresh and nutty flavor that’s so easy to make!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Homemade pesto is something I love to have stocked in my pantry or freezer at all times. It’s the perfect way to preserve the vibrant flavor of summer herbs fresh from the garden and enjoy them all year long!
So, why the cashews? Typically, traditional basil pesto is made with pine nuts. But I’ve never been a big pine nut fan. I also have a friend who’s allergic to pine nuts that causes a metallic taste in her mouth that lasts for weeks. So, to avoid risk of sparking anaphylaxis, I learned to make this creamy and delicious cashew and herb pesto that’s so much better than the original!
The cashews come roasted and salted right out of the can, which yields just the right amount of rich, delicious fat from the nuts along with a heavenly roasted flavor. Just don’t add any salt until the very end so that this homemade cashew pesto isn’t too salty. (Between the roasted cashews and the parmesan cheese, that can easily happen!)
You can grind the cashews as coarsely or finely as you like. I prefer some texture to my pesto and enjoy tasting the cashews in each bite.
- Grated parmesan cheese (I like grating mine fresh, but you can use the powdery stuff off the shelf in a pinch.)
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Cashew halves (I prefer Diamond brand.)
- Fresh garlic cloves
- Fresh basil leaves (washed to remove any dirt)
- Salt and black pepper to taste
How To Make It
This creamy cashew basil pesto could not be easier to make! Add the basil leaves, garlic cloves, cashews, and parmesan cheese in food processor. Pulse until the pieces are small and combined.
Continue processing while slowly drizzling olive oil into the mixture. Slowly is the keyword here. This ensures a creamy pesto.
Easy cashew basil pesto is so versatile. Slather it on slices of Parisian or European crusty bread for a fabulous appetizer. Toss it with pasta for an easy main dish. Spread it on a Naan. How ’bout pizza? Or a burger? Or wrap. There’s no wrong way to enjoy this creamy cashew basil pesto!
Tips for Success
- If you’re concerned about this pesto being too salty, then use roasted unsalted cashews.
- Add some of your favorite leafy greens to this homemade cashew basil pesto for more color and flavor like spinach, parsley, or arugula.
- Not a fan of cashews? Any nut will work! Pecans, walnuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds are great homemade pesto ingredients.
More Recipes To Try
- Avocado Lime Black Bean Dip
- Homemade Italian Meatballs and Tomato Sauce
- Fresh Whole Cranberry Sauce
- Salted Caramel Sauce
- Maple Praline Pecan Sauce
Easy Cashew Basil Pesto
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 2/3 cup olive oil or more for consistency
- 1/2 cup Diamond cashew halves
- 2 good sized garlic cloves or more to taste
- 4 cups clean basil leaves
- salt & pepper to taste
- Place basil leaves, garlic cloves, cashews and parmesan cheese in food processor.
- Pulse until pieces are small.
- Scrape down sides of food processor with a spatula.
- Continue processing while slowly drizzling olive oil into the mixture.
- Add more olive if needed until desired consistency is reached.
- Serve on crusty bread, pasta, pizza or a deli sandwich.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
I used salted cashews and didn't need to add additional salt.