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Fresh spring pesto with cashews

May 10, 2013

Spring seems to finally be arriving across Canada, some of you had quite a rough one this year. Celebrate the return of the colour green to your life with a batch of fresh pesto from your own kitchen.

It's a great time to plant basil in your garden (or 'plant' a few containers on a kitchen shelf) or source a cut bunch or two from your local farmers market. I decided to use cashews instead of pine nuts simply because they were what I had on hand, and was impressed with the results. The cashews give the same nutty, creamy background texture to the pesto, while letting the other ingredients shine. I doubled the amount of basil I found in other recipes as I wanted lots of colour and flavour. If you like a milder pesto, I would recommend starting with 2 cups of basil leaves, then add more as needed.

This super-simple pesto works great as a sauce for pesto pizza, pairs well with grilled salmon and makes a kick-ass pesto hummus for dipping with pita chips. It lasts approximately a week in the fridge, but it will be gone long before then.


Fresh Pesto with Cashews

Recipe adapted from Pasta Recipes by Italians


4 cups basil leaves, removed from stalks and loosely packed (no need to pre-chop)

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup whole cashews

Sea salt


Add basil leaves, garlic, parmesan and cashews to a food processor or chopped and puree until combined.

Slowly add olive oil while blending until the pesto has a smooth, even consistency.

Add sea salt to taste.

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