Monday, March 26, 2012

Dried basil pesto

A while back, I made tabouli with dried parsley, to use one of the many containers of it in the spice cabinet.  The taste was slightly different than fresh, and the texture was definitely altered.  It tasted like the Casbah brand of tabouli that comes in a box.  Not bad, just different.

I wondered what would happen if I used some dried basil flakes to make pesto.  First, I don't know what possessed my mom to buy dried basil flakes in the first place, much less three jars of it.  I expected it to taste like a cooked version of pesto, instead of the fresh sweetness you usually get.  To my surprise, it tasted just like the stuff that costs $5 in a jar.  Hmm, wonder what they use....

Aside from the pine nuts, I was able to make this from pantry items on hand.  And I got the nuts out of the bin, so they were only a little over a dollar.  If I had realized that you can use almonds or walnuts, I wouldn't have had to buy anything.

*1/2 C (about 1 jar) dried basil flakes
1/4 C pine nuts
*3 cloves garlic
*1/2 C grated parmesan
*1/2 C olive oil

1.  Toast pine nuts in a dry pan over medium heat.  Place in food processor with basil flakes, garlic, and parmesan.  Pulse, then run full until nuts have broken down.  You will get a slightly moist paste.

2.  With processor running, drizzle oil into processor.  Continue to run until it stops making that grating noise, about half a minute.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  If possible, make at least a few hours ahead, so the basil has time to hydrate and meld with the other ingredients.  This will make a thick sauce.  If you want it thinner, use 3/4 C oil instead.  I like the more intense flavor.

Makes 3/4 cup

Difficulty rating  π


  1. I am planning on trying this recipe! Dont' have the pine nuts. otherwise looks like a great recipe!

  2. I've once watched one TV cook show where the chef was using pistachio to substitute for the pine nut. When I tried to make mine I only have sunflower seeds at home and that was what I used. It turned out quite well. I guess then you could try substituting pine nut with pistachio which is cheaper than pine nuts or use pumpkin or sunflower seeds.

  3. nice winter time pesto. thanks!

  4. I know this is an old post, but hope you'll see this thank-you note. One of my kids is on an elimination diet that excludes garlic (among many other things) and we're trying to figure out how to do pesto pizza (now that we've got the gluten-free crust figured out!). All pestos I've seen contain garlic, and fresh basil is nowhere to be found right now. But dried basil is doable! Thanks so much.

    1. You're welcome, Marbel. Glad to be of help.

      This may be an old post, but it is - by far - my most popular one.

      Thank you for the idea of a pesto pizza. I'm about to be inundated with cherry tomatoes, and that sounds like a great way to use a bunch!

    2. Store bought pizza crust, pesto tomatoes sliced , then sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese and yummy!

  5. Im making a Goat Cheese Arugula Pizza and needed a dried basil pesto recipe, and here it is! Thank you ;) When your cherry tomatoes are ready try this pizza:

    1 unbaked pizza crust
    6 T pesto sauce
    1 8oz package goat cheese
    3 Roma tomatoes (or cherry!)
    2 garlic cloves peeled and sliced thin
    1 tsp olive oil
    1 cup arugula

  6. I made this today and it was terrific. I'm glad you noted I could use almonds!

  7. As the seasons change, I've got some potted basil to use up and the addition of dried will make that much easier. I saw your comment about being allergic to peppers, I'm allergic to bell peppers, but hot peppers are great...hehe but yeah, try being a vegetarian - restaurants will put bell peppers in EVERYTHING as part of their veggie mix lol

  8. I'm going to use this recipe to make some pesto for the pizza we are having tonight! Thanks for sharing :)

  9. I've also used walnuts with good results


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