Pesto, originally called as pesto alla Genovese, is an Italian dip made with sweet basil leaves, pine nuts, parmesan cheese and olive oil. Traditionally all these ingredients are crushed in a mortar pestle and hence this name.
My version of the recipe is vegan and I use cashews for the creaminess instead of pine nuts as we don't get pine nuts easily in Hyderabad.
Pesto is made with sweet basil leaves also called as Italian basil. Basil is easy to grow and can be grown all year round in Hyderabad weather. I have been growing this in my terrace garden for the past 3 years. I bought seeds once from the farmers market and from then, I save seeds and use it for the next crop. Nowadays these are easily available in any supermarkets.
Basil pesto dip is mainly used in pasta. I use it as pasta dressing, as pizza sauce and even as a salad dressing. This will be good even with roti or bread. I generally use this to make rolls with whole wheat roti for my daughter's lunch box.
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Vegan Pesto sauce
- 100 gms Italian Basil leaves ( Around 2 cups tightly packed leaves)
- 100 gms Cashews (Around ¾ cup)
- 100 ml Olive oil
- 3 garlic pods
- ½ tsp pepper powder
- ¼ tsp lemon juice
- Salt to taste
- Add all ingredients to grinder or food processor and blend everything to form a rough paste. If you wish, you can grind it into a smooth paste. I like it to be a little gritty.
- Adjust olive oil according to your preference.
- This sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for a month.
- To keep it fresh, store this in an airtight glass container.
- Top it with olive oil to prevent oxidization.
- Cashews can be replaced with almonds or walnuts or pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds.
Other variations of Pesto sauce :
- To make this in the traditional way, replace cashews with Parmesan cheese
- To make this nut-free, replace cashews with pumpkin or sunflower seeds
- Almonds or walnuts can also be used instead of cashews.
- If you don't get basil leaves, try making this with coriander leaves. It will taste yummy 🙂
Please try the recipe and share your feedback here 🙂 Happy Cooking !!