This easy cashew pesto takes only 5 minutes to make and can be used in so many ways. Toss it with pasta, add it to a soup, spread it on a sandwich – the possibilities are endless. Made with fresh basil, cashews, garlic and parmesan, this pesto adds amazing fresh flavour to any meal!
Easy Cashew Pesto
Are you drowning in an abundance of basil from your garden? In the summer, I usually keep a basil plant in a sunny spot on my front porch, so I’m always looking for ways to use it up. This recipe is great for using up basil, because it calls for two packed cups.
What I really love about this recipe is the use of cashews instead of the more traditional use of pine nuts. Pine nuts are crazy expensive at my grocery store and there’s no way I’m going to get through the giant bag from Costco. I usually have cashews in my pantry anyway, and they bring a creamier texture to the pesto. Trust me, it’s good.
Ingredients in Cashew Pesto
- Fresh basil
- Grated parmesan cheese
- Cashews – I used raw, but I’m sure roasted will work just as well!
- Lemon juice – freshly squeezed
- Fresh garlic
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Olive oil
- Water – optional, for adjusting consistency
How to make cashew pesto
Step one: Process ingredients (except oil) into a paste
- Add all ingredients except the olive oil to the food processor, and process into a paste, scraping down the sides as you go, if necessary.
Step two: Drizzle in the olive oil
- While the food processor is running, drizzle in the olive oil through the hole in the top of the food processor. Let it run until well combined.
- Adjust consistency by adding small amounts of water (if desired, see tip below)
- Adjust flavours to suit your taste (see tips below)
Tips for making cashew Pesto
How to adjust the consistency: The recipe as written makes more of a paste consistency. If you prefer a runnier pesto, add one tablespoon of water at a time to the food processor, until you reach your desired consistency.
How to make it vegan: if you need a vegan option, replace the parmesan cheese with three to four tablespoons of nutritional yeast. You may also want to increase the salt a bit, because the parmesan added quite a bit of salty flavour.
How to adjust the flavours: if you need more overall flavour, add salt. If you find the garlic flavour a bit strong, I find adding a bit more lemon can offset the “bite” of the garlic. And if you want more bite and want to ward off vampires (ha!), add another garlic clove.
Easy Cashew Pesto
- 2 cups packed fresh basil
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup raw cashews
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
- Black pepper (to taste)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- water (optional)
- Add the basil, parmesan cheese, cashews, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper to the food processor, and blend until a paste starts to form.
- While the food processor is running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until ingredients are well combined. Scrape down the sides as you go, if necessary.
- Adjust seasoning and consistency, if desired (see notes below).