Have you every wondered ‘what can I use for pesto instead of basil?’ While a traditional pesto recipe uses basil and pine nuts, I had a garden full of winter leafy green vegetables that needed harvesting. So I came up with a different pesto recipe to make use of leafy green vegetables growing in the garden.
I also wanted to substitute pine nuts for almonds which were more easily available as well as being a cheaper option. Pine nuts are expensive so I’ve used almonds, but this recipe is flexible and you can use pine nuts, pecans, pistachios or walnuts.
Most leafy green vegetables will be amazing in this easy pesto recipe, including kale, parsley, leaves from broccoli rabe (also known as broccoli raab, rapini, or spring broccoli), spinach, Swiss chard (silverbeet), radish greens, and Asian greens such as bok choy. You could use any combination of these as well as traditional basil or more unusual basil such as African blue basil if you have some on hand.
To prepare the leafy green vegetables, wash them well and remove any hard stems.
I find it easier to roughly chop the vegetables so I can more accurately measure them.
Leftover pesto can be stored in a jar or container and kept in the fridge for a week.
Pesto can also be frozen. Make a double batch and freeze a potion for later.
How To Use Pesto – Beyond Pasta
We all know pesto and pasta are a match made in foodie heaven but how else can you use a pesto sauce recipe with almonds besides pasta? There are so many ways, here are just a few suggestions to get you started:
- Pesto sauce can be spread on a pizza base instead of tomato sauce.
- Spread pesto on morning toast or toasted sandwiches.
- Use as a pesto dip served with crackers and vegetable sticks of cucumber, carrot and celery.
- Drizzle pesto over roast vegetables or add pesto to a salad dressing.
All delicious options. Do you have creative ways of using pesto? Please let us know!
Frying Pan – use a frying pan to dry roast the almonds.
Food Processor – use a food processor to easily blend the pesto ingredients, or a Mortar and Pestle will also do the job in batches.
You might be interested in another recipe for pesto with our Nasturtium Pesto Recipe. Or you might be interested in growing your own leafy greens with our article on How To Grow Swiss Chard.
Almond Pesto Recipe (With Leafy Green Vegetables)
- 1/2 cup Almonds, roasted
- 3 cups packed mixed leafy greens (remove any tough stems)
- 1-2 Gloves of Garlic
- 1/2 cup Olive Oil
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, chopped
- 1/2 Lemon, juiced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Over medium heat, dry roast the almonds in a frying pan, tossing regularly to cook them evenly. They are ready when they are toasted lightly.
- Use a food processor to lightly blitz the warm nuts.
- Add the garlic to the warm nut mix and briefly blend.
- Then add the leafy green vegetables and blitz them until roughly chopped.
- Add the Parmesan cheese, olive oil and lemon juice and blend together for your preferred texture. I like it a bit on the chunkier side but you may prefer a smoother texture.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and more olive oil if needed.Enjoy!
For more cooking inspiration, please see some of our other recipes:
- Sweet Salty Spicy Nuts Recipe
- Vegetarian Mushroom Cabbage Rolls – Polish Golabki Recipe
- Tomato Chili And Ginger Jam Recipe
- Nasturtium Capers and Nasturtium Pesto
- Can You Eat Radish Greens? (And How to Eat Them)
- How To Make Labneh: Recipe For Yogurt Cheese
- Vegan Tacos Recipe With Jerk-Spiced Jackfruit