This dairy-free and paleo basil pesto is made with pre-soaked cashews, which give it a gorgeous velvety cream consistency. Spread over sweet potato toast, use as a dip or top a piece of fish and pop it under the grill.
I bought a big bunch of fresh basil the other day and wanted to make my regular pesto but realised that I only had some cashews on hand (I usually add pine nuts). I often use soaked cashews for making a dairy-free ‘cheese-y’ sauce and in dips, so they quickly ended up in a blender together with fresh herbs and olive oil.
The mixture is a thicker, creamier consistency of a regular pesto and has that beautiful fresh basil flavour mellowed out by the nutty, sweet cashews and olive oil, plus a hint of garlic.
You can use this basil cashew pesto as a spread over roasted sweet potato toast, sliced tomatoes or as a condiment in a tasty paleo wrap. I love it as a dip with fresh carrot and celery sticks and to stir through some scrambled eggs. If you have some zucchini or celeriac noodles, this pesto can be used as a lovely warm sauce as well. Oh, and it makes for a marvellous grilled fish crust!
Store this creamy pesto in an air-tight jar for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
- ½ cup cashew nuts, soaked in warm water for 3-4 hours
- 1 medium bunch of fresh basil (about 2 cups packed with leaves)
- ⅓ cup good olive oil
- 2 clove of garlic, chopped roughly
- Juice of ½ lemon
- ½ teaspoon salt (more to taste)
- Generous pinch of pepper
- ¼ cup water
- Pre-soak the cashew nuts in a bowl of warm water for 3-4 hours and strain through a sieve.
- Tear off the basil leaves and save the stalks for a soup, although you can also use some of the stalks in the pesto.
- Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender. Process into a thick puree, adding a little more water if the consistency is too thick. Taste the pureed mixture for salt and lemon, and add more if you like. You can also add some chilli or more garlic, if you like an extra kick, or some nutritional yeast flakes for a more cheesy flavour.