Thai Basil Pesto

Summertime is a great time for pesto - you can make up a big batch, use it lots of different ways, even freeze it for a treat come wintertime. I can't tell you the joy we got pulling out a container of garlic scape pesto in the dead of winter, tossing it with some pasta, and reminiscing about summer.

Today's pesto is an exotic departure from your traditional basil, walnut & Parmesan blend. The Thai basil lends a slight anise flavor, the toasted pecans add depth and richness. Whip up a big batch of this versatile, vegan concoction and keep it around for dipping, drizzling and dressing. It'll keep in your fridge for about a week - and bonus! The lime juice helps it keep its bright green color.

Thai Basil Pesto (Adapted from Healthful Pursuit)

1 c. raw pecans, toasted
4 c. Thai basil (about 2 big bunches)
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
zest of one large lime or 2 small limes
juice of 1 large or 2 small limes
1/2 t. fish sauce (optional, can sub soy sauce if you're vegan or don't have fish sauce on hand)
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil


Place nuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until broken down, about 30 seconds. Add basil, lime zest and juice, fish sauce and garlic. Pulse to mix, until basil leaves have been incorporated with the nuts. With the processor running, add the olive oil through the feed tube and process until combined and until pesto has reached desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste, mixing and tasting after each addition.

Yields about 1.5 cups.

What're you gonna do with it?

  • Great on pasta. Why not try zucchini "pasta"? I used a vegetable peeler to peel long strips of zucchini, heated them up quickly in a frying pan, and tossed them with the pesto. Delicious, a great way to use your zucchini, and a healthful, low-calorie alternative to pasta.
  • Slice a tomato, spread the pesto on top, and hit it with the broiler
  • Sandwich spread
  • Try it over fish or chicken - we ate it over simple baked cod and it was delicious
  • Veggie dip
  • In a vinaigrette
  • Pizza sauce
  • Spread on crackers
  • Freeze for later - either in small containers or in an ice cube tray.
  • More good ideas here!

What're your favorite ways to use pesto? Have a favorite pesto ingredient combo? Share in the comments!