Earlier this year, when I planted all my sweet basil plants I was thinking out loud on my Facebook group as to whether or not I could make a great tasting low-carb pesto with something other than pine nuts…
I was torn as to which nuts to use. Amy said she uses pecans but that she also used walnuts. Then I chatted with Elizabeth, a food blogger I follow on Instagram that lives in Rome, when she made the comment that pine nuts were so expensive that she uses almonds or macadamia nuts… and she said she never uses walnuts because she just didn’t care for the taste they gave pesto. Hmmm, what to do?
The first thing I needed to do was buy a food processor! I know that this is 2016 but I just never got around to buying one! I either hand chopped, used my Tupperware Smart Chopper or threw stuff in my old Hamilton Beach blender which is a workhorse and I have owned forever. I looked around a lot and settled on this Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus. It’s just a little 3-cup processor so it will fit in my undercounter turntable when not in use and makes just enough for Michael and I. It gets almost 5 stars on Amazon from over 3,000 customers! It also has a nice size motor so I don’t worry about it getting bogged down. After putting it through it’s paces with a dozen batches of pesto I give it two thumbs up and highly recommend it!
If you are lucky enough to own one of their bigger models like this amazing 14 cup you can just multiply my ingredients to get the job done super fast! Even with the 3-cup model it didn’t take me all that long once I had everything out on the kitchen island and I had everything in the freezer in no time. I will also be able to make just enough pesto for one meal during growing season with my baby!
With my new food processor in hand I set out to see which nuts we liked in lieu of the pine nuts, which cost more than double than any of the others…
I made my first couple batches, enough to fill up the 14 ice cubes wells in one tray, with almonds and then followed up with walnuts for the next couple batches. I knew which were which so I had my hubby Michael do a blind tasting and he agreed that there wasn’t much of a difference and loved both. So I went with the cheaper of the two; walnuts.
I had but didn’t try pecans because it frankly seemed like a waste of wonderful love-to-eat-right-out-of-the-bag pecans and macadamia nuts cost even more than pine nuts so that would be just flat out crazy! If you use either of those I would love to hear how they compare! I just couldn’t see using something more expensive when the ones I tried basically both tasted the same in my recipe:
- 1 heaping cup Sweet Basil
- ½ heaping tsp Minced Garlic
- ½ cup nuts; I used walnuts*
- ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan Cheese
- Kosher Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
- Put 1 cup fresh sweet basi into 3-cup food processor
- Add garlic & pulse until finely chopped
- Add remaining ingredients, chop, open and push ingredients down down onto blades and then switch to grind to desired consistency. Repeat as necessary.
- Transfer to silicone ice cube trays and freeze overnight
- Pop out of trays and store in ziploc bags in freezer unitil ready to use.
I hope that you love this as much as we do! Which nuts will you use? Scroll down and let me know what recipe will you use yours for first!
In the meantime, ciao for now!
Always consult your healthcare professional if you are currently taking medication, pregnant, trying to get pregnant, nursing, or if you have any other health condition before taking any products mentioned or applying any information contained herein.