top of page

Cashew Basil Pesto, gluten-free

If you've ever tasted homemade pesto, then you'll never eat store-bought again, trust me. In just a matter of minutes, you can whip up this luscious Cashew Basil Pesto, which is a blend of fresh basil, roasted cashews, parmesan cheese, garlic, and fresh lemon juice that will leave your taste buds dancing. It's perfect for pasta, steaks, grilled chicken, sandwiches, salads, and more. Let's dive into the world of flavors with this homemade delight!

Cashew Basil Pesto, gluten-free
Cashew Basil Pesto, gluten-free

Why use Cashews for this Basil Pesto?

Creamy Texture: Cashews have a naturally creamy texture when blended, creating a velvety and smooth consistency in the pesto. This adds a luxurious mouthfeel to the sauce, making it satisfying and enjoyable.

Mild, Nutty Flavor: Cashews have a mild and slightly sweet nutty flavor that complements the peppery freshness of basil and the savory notes of Parmesan cheese. This combination creates a well-balanced pesto that is rich and flavorful.

Nutritional Benefits: Cashews are a good source of healthy fats, protein, and essential nutrients like magnesium and copper. Including cashews in your pesto not only adds flavor but also contributes to the nutritional profile of the dish.

Accessibility and Affordability: Cashews are widely available and tend to be more affordable compared to some other nuts. This makes cashews a practical choice for those looking to create a delicious pesto without breaking the bank.

How to store Cashew Basil Pesto

Refrigerator: After making the Cashew Basil Pesto, fill a sterilised jar to almost the very top. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top and seal closed to keep the pesto green. This can keep for a few months in the fridge if you continue to cover the top with olive to keep the herbs fresh.

Freezer: If you decide to make a large batch, then transfer to a freezer bag (s). Freeze flat, and break off chunks of pesto to use whenever you need it. When you need larger quantities defrost the entire bag.

Cashew Basil Pesto, gluten-free
Cashew Basil Pesto, gluten-free

Favourite Ways to use Cashew Basil Pesto

  1. Pasta Sauce: Toss cooked pasta with a generous amount of cashew basil pesto for a quick and delicious pasta dish.

  2. Spread for Sandwiches and Wraps: Use cashew basil pesto as a spread for sandwiches and wraps. It adds a burst of flavor to cold or grilled sandwiches, giving them a gourmet touch. Try it with grilled chicken, turkey, or roasted vegetable sandwiches.

  3. Pizza Sauce: Instead of traditional tomato sauce, spread cashew basil pesto on your pizza crust as a flavorful alternative. Top with your favorite cheeses, veggies, and proteins for a unique and delicious pizza.

  4. Dip for Vegetables and Bread: Serve cashew basil pesto as a dip for fresh vegetables, breadsticks, or crusty bread. It's perfect for entertaining guests.

  5. Salad Dressing: Mix cashew basil pesto with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice to create a tasty salad dressing. Drizzle it over a green salad, pasta salad, or roasted vegetable salad for an extra layer of flavor.

  6. Protein Enhancer: Use cashew basil pesto as a marinade or sauce for grilled or roasted proteins. It pairs well with chicken, shrimp, salmon, or even tofu, adding a rich and herby flavor.

  7. Stir into Risotto or Quinoa: Stir cashew basil pesto into risotto or cooked quinoa for a vibrant and flavorful side dish. It adds depth to the dish and complements the nuttiness of the grains.

  8. Baked or Grilled Vegetables: Coat your favorite vegetables with cashew basil pesto before baking or grilling. The pesto infuses the vegetables with a savory flavor, making them a tasty side dish or standalone appetizer.

  9. Eggs and Breakfast Dishes: Swirl cashew basil pesto into scrambled eggs, omelets, or frittatas for a gourmet breakfast experience. It adds a burst of flavor to your morning routine.

  10. Grain Bowl Topping: Drizzle cashew basil pesto over grain bowls, such as quinoa or rice bowls, to add a burst of flavor and elevate the overall dish.

Cashew Basil Pesto, gluten-free
Cashew Basil Pesto, gluten-free

What to pair this Cashew Basil Pesto with?

Parmesan Chicken Tenderloins - add to the chicken or salad for extra flavour and juiciness.

Cashew Basil Pesto Pasta - a simple yet flavour-packed weeknight dinner.

Steak 'n' Chips Tray Bake - the perfect savoury topper to steak and chips.

Crispy Gnocchi Tray Bake - drizzle over each bowl of gnocchi for a Mediterranean twist.

Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb - ditch the other sauces and try roasted lamb with this pesto instead!

Cashew Basil Pesto, gluten-free
Cashew Basil Pesto, gluten-free

Cashew Basil Pesto


Prep 5 minutes

Process 1 minute

Produces 1 ½ cups




2 packed cups fresh wide-leaf basil leaves, washed, dried, and stems removed

¾ cup extra virgin olive oil, light

¾ cup roasted (not salted) cashews

¼ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated

2 large garlic cloves, cut into quarters

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon sea salt



1. Prepare to add to the food processor: In a food processor, start by layering the ingredients for optimal blending. Begin with the roasted cashews, garlic, lemon juice, sea salt, and pepper.

2. Adding the parmesan, basil, and olive oil: Add the freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top of the initial ingredients. Then, pack in the fresh basil leaves, ensuring they are washed, dried, and free of stems. Finish off the layering process by pouring the extra virgin olive oil over the basil leaves. This order helps achieve a smooth and consistent texture.

3. Process until smooth and store: Process the ingredients in the food processor until you achieve the desired texture and consistency. Stop and scrape down the sides if necessary to ensure everything is well incorporated. Once the pesto has reached a creamy perfection, transfer it into a sterilized jar and add a thin layer of olive oil on the top so the pesto is not exposed to air. This delicious concoction can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Note on Olive Oil: Keep in mind that olive oil may solidify in the refrigerator. If this happens, simply leave the pesto out at room temperature for about 10 minutes before using.

Have you tried this recipe?

Share it with me at @createcookshare on

Cashew Basil Pesto, gluten-free
Cashew Basil Pesto, gluten-free

Recipe and Photography Margaret Pahos @CreateCookShare


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
me straight hair.jpg

Meet Margaret