Pecan Pesto – A Family Favourite


Pesto is a favourite around here. Not just because it’s green. And not just because we love pasta. And not solely because we can grow basil on our back deck either.  However none of these facts hurt it’s popularity!


We have a bit of a picky eater in this home at times. So the fact that it is her job to pick the basil leaves and push the button on the food processor and squeal with delight at how green it is, seemed to really cement her love of homemade pesto. The amazing smell doesn’t hurt either

A Slightly Different Pesto

We do make our pesto slightly different than most and to our own liking. Rather untraditionally, we use roasted pecans (and no pine nuts), and we don’t add in garlic (as I can’t eat it) and we definitely use less oil than traditional recipes. However since there is never any leftover, it is probably a safe bet to assume it still tastes great! Actually, better than great – there is actually cheering in the house when we make this!

Sometimes we make only enough for a single pasta dish for dinner and sometimes we make big batch and store the leftovers in the fridge for later in the week. It usually just depends on how depleted our basil is looking and how late it is in the season.

I adore this super, simple recipe because none of it’s quantities are set in stone. I just adjust the recipe, up or down in amounts accordingly, in ratio to how much basil I am using. It stores great in the fridge in an airtight container with a thin layer of oil on top. Leftovers are great on pasta (of course), pizza, homemade focaccia bread and added into a quick weeknight, cream sauce for a variation as well!

pecan pesto

pecan pesto

Serves 4
A delicious garlic free pesto with pecans and basil.
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
20 min
  1. 2 Cups Fresh Basil Leaves
  2. 1/4 - 1/3 Cups Pecan Halves
  3. 1/2 Teaspoon Coarse Kosher Salt
  4. 1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  5. About 1/4 - 1/3 Cup Extra - Virgin Olive Oil (or until desired consistency is reached)
  6. 1/2 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
  1. Dry roast the pecans on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 8 - 10 minutes or until they smell fragrant. Watching carefully not to burn them.
  2. In a food processor pulse the pecan halves for 30 seconds.
  3. Add in the basil leaves, salt and pepper. Pulse until finely chopped. Scraping down the sides as needed.
  4. With the processor running slowly add in the olive oil through the feed tube and process until the pesto is finely pureed (again stopping the processor and scraping down the sides as needed). Adding as much or as little oil as you see fit.
  5. Lastly add in the freshly grated parmesan and pulse until combined.
  1. If serving immediately on pasta, reserve some of the pasta water, to thin the sauce as needed.
  2. If storing in the fridge or freezer - place in an airtight container and add an extra layer of olive oil across the pesto's surface, before adding the lid.
Pretty Petunias

For those of you who can digest garlic and heaps of oil or ever remember to have pine nuts on hand – then those additions would be wonderful as well of course!! 

And, yes this recipe can be made without the assistance of a cute little helper, if it must!

pesto recipe



Pesto is delicious on homemade pizza dough as well!

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