Thai Basil Pesto with Almonds

Yeah, that recipe title is a mouthful. But what a tasty one.

A couple of weeks ago I went to Kam Man, probably my favorite Asian grocery store in the northeast. I bought…well let’s just say I bought a lot, I cook a lot of Asian-inspired dishes as one of our family friends, being Filipino, taught my mom, and thereby me, a LOT about cooking. Anyway, I bought two packages of thai basil, I had a hankering for some Panang Curry and some Drunken Noodle, which I overdose with chopped basil. But now a couple of weeks on, I realize I still had about a package left, and it was starting to look a little sad.

What’s better than sad looking basil? AMAZING looking pesto. I didn’t have all the right ingredients, so I improvised (which is really the best kind of cooking anyway).

I had basil, I had cheese, I had…almonds. That’s right, not pine nuts, almonds. Trust me, you may not go back.

This is what you’ll need;

A cuisinart, although I have been known to use a blender. Really anything that chops

A large bunch of Thai Basil (You can obviously substitute with regular basil)

2 tbsp olive oil

1/4 tea salt

1/4 tea pepper

2 whole garlic cloves

1 tbsp almonds

squeeze of a fresh lemon (1 tea)

1 tbsp grated cheese. Preferably something Italian like Pecorino or Romano

First add your olive oil, then wash your basil and have your child deposit basil into the cuisinart.

Add your spices, whole garlic and squeeze of lemon.

Pesto Ingredients

Give it a whizz until most of the basil and other stuff is all blended pretty nicely (but there can still be big chunks. (Zara does all the whizzing, it’s actually hilarious)

TASTE IT. Make sure you don’t need more salt or more lemon juice. If you do, now is the time to add it, BUT REMEMBER, you will be adding cheese in a moment. I usually hold off on the salt (and I think my spice measurements are actually pretty good on this one!) Whizz after tasting. Now add the cheese. Whizz again and then taste. Does yours need anything? Mine didn’t, it was freaking amazing. The almonds make it more nutty and the thai basil has a sweeter crispness than you find in traditional italian or greek basil.


I’m bringing this to a friend’s house for lunch. She’s vegetarian and I think, will love this!


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5 Responses to Thai Basil Pesto with Almonds

  1. Cathy says:

    Just looked in my storecupboard. Reckon I can make this with dried parsley, chopped walnuts and cheddar cheese?

    • emellt says:

      You’d have to reconstitute the parsley to get the same consistency. I’ve never tried with cheddar cheese, give it a whirl and let me know how you get on! (I’m a firm believer that almost anything can be pesto-ized

  2. hippyma says:

    Remind me to give you a bunch of fresh Thai basil this spring/summer, we grow it in our garden every year, does very well & we use it in everything!! i agree w/you, almost anything can be pesto-ized (not sure about cheddar cheese)

  3. Pingback: Drunken Noodles | Zara's Hungry

  4. Austin says:

    OMYGOD. THANK YOU! My parents bought a bunch (like 6 MATURE THAI BASILS!) and I do not have a clue how to use it. At first I thought I was just going to let it flower because they’re so beautiful, but then I stumbled upon this. OMYGOD. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! I WILL TRY THIS!

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