Most traditionally, Pesto is known as a Genovese combination of basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil and grated cheese that is combined and ground to a paste using a mortar and pestle. These beginnings of pesto are known to have originated in Northern Italy – Genoa to be precise! Although this Genovese combination is absolute perfection, I love creating quick pesto variations with alternative ingredients that I happen to have in my kitchen using a base ratio!
Base Pesto Ratio
The basic ratio for pesto that I’ve found successful is a ratio of 1.5:2:2:8 – here’s that ratio broken down by ingredients:
- 1.5 part nuts
- 2 parts oil
- 2 parts grated cheese
- 8 parts leaves or herbs
- plus garlic, lemon, and salt and pepper to taste
By continuing to scroll down to the bottom of the page, you’ll find the recipe for pistachio pesto that includes an example of this ratio.
Making Pistachio Pesto
First, place your cloves of garlic in the food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped.
Add in the toasted pistachios, lemon juice, basil and salt; pulse everything until nuts are finely chopped and ingredients are well blended.
Then, add olive oil gradually while processing until the mixture is well combined.
Finally, add grated Parmesan and pulse 2 or 3 times. Season with more salt and pepper to taste then, voila! Pistachio Pesto.
Quick Pesto Variations
Let’s break down what you can substitute for each ingredient. This is entirely based on your preferences or what you happen to have in your kitchen at the time!
Nuts – Pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts, cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds (nut-free choice)
Oil – Extra virgin olive oil, grape seed oil, avocado oil
Cheese – pecorino romano, Parmesan, aged cheddar, aged Manchego, aged gouda
Greens – Basil, spinach, arugula, kale, parsley, cilantro
What to do with your Pesto
There are truly so many different recipes you can use homemade pesto for! Here’s a few examples to get the creative juices flowing…
- Pesto Aioli
- Roasted Potatoes
- Pesto Babka
- Pesto Pasta
- Pizza Toppings
- Spread for Sandwiches
If you have leftover pesto, you can either store the leftovers in an airtight container or freeze the extra in an ice cube tray. Pop them out a day later once frozen, and store the cubes inside the freezer in a ziplock bag. I’ve used this pesto for pasta, the base for avocado toast, spooning on top of pizza, or incorporating it into a bread loaf. The options are endless!
- Food Processor
- ⅓ Cup (41 g) Pistachios, shelled & toasted
- 1/2 Cup (108 g) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 Cup (50 g) Parmesan
- 4 Cups (96 g) Fresh Basil
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- 1 Lemon, juiced
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Place your clove of garlic in the food processor; pulse until finely chopped.
- Add the toasted pistachios, lemon juice, basil and salt; pulse until nuts are finely chopped and ingredients are well blended.
- Add olive oil gradually and process until the mixture is well combined.
- Finally, add parmesean and pulse 2 or 3 times. Voila! Pistachio Pesto.