This is a perfect sauce for homemade pizza topped with fresh mozzarella, proscuitto, sun dried tomatoes and lemon-dressed arugula. It also makes a fantastic dressing for couscous salad with chickpeas, chunky feta, roasted almonds, cucumbers and fresh tomatoes. It's even great on a spoon while standing around in the kitchen!

By / Photography By Amy Robb | August 28, 2015

Instructions

To begin, get those almonds nice and toasted. Bake them at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Once they are golden brown and you can smell them, take them out of the oven and pour them onto another cookie sheet or pan to cool.

While the almonds are cooling, break out your food processor and get all the other ingredients ready. Make sure your basil is clean and dry. Toss the leaves into the bowl of the food processor. Add the cooled almonds, arugula, lemon zest and juice, parmesan/nutritional yeast, sea salt and cracked pepper. Slowly pour in olive oil, starting with a small amount, blend, and add more if more moisture is needed. This way you don’t end up with an excessively oily pesto.

Once you have added all the ingredients, pulse and blend away. The consistency is completely up to you and how the pesto will be used. For a creamy, smooth pesto, blend well, remembering to scrape down the sides so all of the components are fully incorporated. But I must say how delicious this pesto is when it is left a little on the chunky side. I like to pulse a few times, blend, and then pulse again. The result is a rustic and coarse, bright green pesto speckled with golden almonds and cheese.

Serve immediately. It can also be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a couple of days. After that, it begins to lose its bright green color.

About this recipe

NOTE: If you prefer to use raw almonds, feel free to omit the toasting step. However, this recipe is particularly good because of the warm roasted notes you get from the almonds.

 

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup almonds, toasted and cooled
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup arugula
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (if vegan, substitute nutritional yeast for cheesy flavor, or omit this ingredient)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
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