Today I made a Sun-Dried Tomato Hazelnut Pesto variation and it turned out superb! No written recipe needed, just some knowledge to make this recipe.
This pesto is not really a recipe, more of a method! So take the ingredient list as you will and swap in whatever herbs & nuts you have on hand. It will yield a different flavor every time while tasting incredible. Choose ingredients that you love!
The key components of any pesto:
- Herb – (one kind of herb or a combination of herbs)
- Fat – I prefer olive oil as a binder, but use any good quality oil you have on hand. Occasionally, I make pesto with Mayo; it’s out of this world!
- Toasted Nuts – Almost any kind of nuts will work (I DON’T recommend using Brazil Nuts because they’re very high in Selenium and too much is not good for you). I like to use pine nuts, almonds, hazelnuts & walnuts. A combination is great too!
- Fresh Garlic cloves – If you don’t have fresh you can use ground but fresh garlic is ideal!
- Acid – Sometimes I leave it out, but usually, I’ll add a bit of lime juice or lemon juice. You can even add freshly squeezed orange juice or a pinch of Apple Cider Vinegar!
- Extras – Extras are optional! Today I made a sun-dried tomato pesto, so I added rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes. Maybe you’d like to add miso to your blend?!
- Spices – (optional) Usually I opt for salt/pepper since the pesto already has so much flavor. Maybe you’d like to add nutritional yeast for added cheesiness?!
As Laura Vitale says, the world is your pickle!
Make pesto with ingredients that work best for you!
Here’s a basic recipe. Loosely follow it!
- ½ or ¾ cup fresh basil
- ¾ to 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (in oil or in a bag**)
- ⅓ cup hazelnuts, *roasted & peeled
- 3 or 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- ⅓ - ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2-3 tablespoons water
- Salt & pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until creamy.
Add more or less water if you prefer a thinner/thicker pesto.
I like to keep my pesto thicker and thin it out when I’m ready to use it in a recipe.
I like to serve this pesto on pasta (also delicious if you stir in 2 Tbsp of hummus for extra creaminess), with rice cakes, on potatoes, or crackers!
* How to Toast Hazelnuts: Roast whole nuts in a 350°F oven for 7-10 minutes. Rub the hazelnuts between a towel to remove and skin.
**If using dried Sun-Dried Tomatoes from a bag, without oil, you'll need to rehydrate them. It's very simple! Simply, add the sun-dried tomatoes to a bowl and pour over boiling water. Let sit 10 minutes until the sun-dried tomatoes become soft and pliable. Use in the recipe!