Eataly asked me to participate in a pesto-making competition, so I came up with this easy avocado pesto recipe. The avocado adds a creamy texture to the pesto, without changing the flavor profile.
This avocado pesto is perfect for spring. It is bursting with light and fresh flavors. The primary ingredient is lots of fresh basil, which is then mixed with lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, cheese, and avocado to create a pesto that tastes more refreshing than most.
You can serve this pesto in a wide variety of ways. It is especially delicious with a cheese filled pasta. It is also a nice addition to a salad or a sandwich. I added the avocado to salad bowls with spinach, chicken, and roasted tomatoes.
It was my sister, Kelly, who suggested that I add the avocado to the pesto. I know it might sound like I am telling you to make guacamole/pesto but the avocado really just gives the pesto a more creamy texture. I also think that adding the avocado allows you to make pesto without adding as much olive oil.
I do want to warn you that the raw garlic flavor can be strong. So you may want to either roast the garlic to mellow the flavor or add it bit by bit so that it doesn’t overwhelm the other ingredients.
Sadly, this pesto did not win the competition, but I think that had a lot to do with the fact that I definitely didn’t know how to use a mortar and pestle. I think I added the avocado too soon, and the basil didn’t get ground into a paste. Just use a food processor! When you use a food processor, this pesto turns out perfectly. I resisted getting a food processor for years and years, and recently KitchenAid gave me their new food processor, and I use it a few times a week.
I was happy to lose to my friend Lauren (of Lakeshore Lady) who made her Italian grandmother’s recipe. I loved that the classic recipe won, it seemed fitting.
How to make Avocado Pesto:
Easy Avocado Pesto
- 2 Avocados
- 1 Lemon
- 2 cups of Basil
- 1/2 cup of grated Pecorino
- 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan
- 2-3 cloves of Garlic
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup Pine Nuts
- Sea Salt
I like to start by adding the basil, 1 1/2 avocados, the cheese, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the pine nuts, and a pinch of salt and pepper to a food processor. I pulse it until the basil is finely chopped.
Next, I taste test and add more garlic, lemon, salt, and pepper if necessary. Then I take a look at the texture and I add more olive oil until the pesto reaches the consistency I desire.
Either serve right away, or store in an airtight container for up to four days.
I do want to warn you that the raw garlic flavor can be strong. So you may want to either roast the garlic to mellow the flavor or add it bit by bit so that it doesn't overwhelm the other ingredients.