Nothing beats freshly made basil cashew pesto!
You can use a mortar and pestle or food processor to prepare this flavorful basil cashew pesto sauce from scratch.
Learn how to with my video and process shots below.
Table of contents
Basil Pesto ingredients
I use fresh Italian basil with large leaves in this pesto recipe.
You can use smaller Mediterranean basil varieties too or Asian basil such as Thai basil or Indian basil if you feel adventurous.
Get some unsalted cashew seeds to prepare a creamy pesto.
Good quality cashews will turn this homemade pesto to a delight.
Cashews are not cheap but you don’t need a large quantity in this sauce and you will realize that spending a little more to get the better cashews is well worth it!
Fresh Garlic makes this pesto irresistible as it rounds up the flavors of all the other ingredients.
The garlic cloves are raw and fresh in this recipe.
I like to use quality salt and I have tried this cashew pesto recipe with pink Himalayan salt and with french Fleur de Sel.
The salt enhances the taste and helps to reduce the ingredients into a paste due to its nature.
Don’t just get any Parmesan but 1st class Parmiggiano Reggiano to create the best evergreen pesto paste.
The right Parmesan can make or break your pesto.
Mortar and Pestle VS Food Processor
The Mortar and Pestle
Mortar and Pestle are great if you want to add flavor into your basil cashew pesto.
Stone mortar and pestle helps to release the aroma of the ingredients.
You will never get the same result if you use a food processor or blender with blades.
I suggest you use only large granite or marble mortar and pestle because metal, wooden or ceramic mortar and pestle are not that effective.
Stone mortar and pestle are also heavier and the unpolished stone texture on the inside, weight, and large size make it easier to grind everything quickly to a smooth pesto paste.
Small mortar and pestle are almost useless because you need a large bowl to reduce your ingredients to a paste.
Marble Mortar and pestle originated in the Mediterranean area such as Italy, France, and Spain.
Granite Mortar and pestle is still a common kitchen tool in Asian countries such as South East Asia and the Indian subcontinent.
Both are great and work almost identical.
The downside of a mortar and pestle is the physical effort that you need to prepare this fresh green sauce from scratch.
Food processor or Blender
Use a quality food processor or blender if you don’t want to invest in a mortar and pestle and/or if you want to avoid physical movement.
I use a food processor when I’m in a hurry and I need a quick paste.
A food processor is handy and is a great motivator to eat more often healthy.
How to make this basil cashew pesto in a mortar and pestle?
These are the steps to prepare a quality basil cashew pesto in a mortar and pestle.
If you prepare the pesto in a food grinder or blender, simply add all ingredients and reduce to a smooth paste.
Crush the garlic small with the salt.
Add in the Cashews and continue to crush and grind, so that everything is turned into a smaller consistency.
Pour some of the olive oil to the garlic cashew mixture and add in all the fresh basil leaves.
Continue to pound and grind to form slowly a paste.
Pour the remaining olive oil, mix grind and pound and add the Parmesan cheese.
Create a smooth pesto or to your desired consistency.
How to use this cashew pesto?
The basil cashew pesto is super versatile!
Serve your Basil Cashew Pesto in/with/over or use as…
- Cooked pasta
- Potato gnocchi
- Pizza topping instead of tomato sauce or in Flammkuchen
- Toasted sandwich
- Flatbread and bread
- Cooked vegetables
- Salad dressing
- Cooked meats such as steaks, grilled chicken, kebabs
- Cooked fish or seafood such as salmon and shrimp
- Mixed with sour cream or mayo to make a dipping sauce
- Soups as in Turkish lentil soup
How to store your homemade Basil Cashew Pesto?
You can store your basil cashew pesto in the fridge for up to 1 week in an airtight container.
Or you freeze the basil pesto sauce into ice cube shapes and store them in the fridge (just as I did in my papaya paste post)
I prefer to store my pesto in the fridge because pesto is anyway better when fresh and I don’t like to keep it for too long.
Dear Reader, how are you going to use your cashew pesto?
Basil Cashew Pesto Recipe
How to Video
- In a mortar and pestle, add the fresh garlic cloves. Mash and grind small with the salt.
- Add in the cashews and crush small with the garlic.
- Pour some of the oil in and add all the fresh basil leaves.
- Crush and pound all the ingredients small, so that a paste is slowly formed.
- Pour the remaining oil and keep on pounding and mixing it all.
- Add in the parmesan cheese and mix it all in while grinding the ingredients together in the mortar until you have a smooth paste or a paste to your desired consistency.
- Take out the paste and store in an airtight container.
- If you use a food pressor or blender, simply combine all ingredients to a smooth paste.
- Use fresh Italian Basil leaves
- Try to get quality parmesan, Parmigiano Reggiano to get the most of your homemade Pesto.
- Use premium salts to enhance your Pesto such as pink Himalaya salt and Fleur de Sel.
- Nutritioin serving equals one Tablespoon. The paste amount is for one small jar.
- Cashew Pesto Recipe adapted from ricette.giallozafferano.it/Pesto-alla-Genovese.html