What is not to love about pesto? It’s full of flavor, it’s easy to make, and can be easily modified to suit your specific taste. This variation of pesto uses a combination of basil and roasted jalapenos to give you a flavorful sauce that has a subtle spicy kick to it. You can use pesto on so many different foods from pasta to vegetables, meats to salad dressings, the possibilities are endless! Like our healthy Personal Chicken Pesto Pizza recipe!
We like the change the kind of basil we use depending on what we are growing in the garden. You can use traditional sweet basil which will be readily available at the grocery store, we used a 75% sweet basil/ 25% Thai basil combination for this recipe. We also used jalapenos from our garden which is why the length size is so much smaller than the large jalapenos you would find at the grocery store. Just adjust quantity based on how large the jalapenos you are using. When making this recipe the key is to use high quality ingredients, especially with the olive oil and Parmesan cheese since any lower quality ingredients will be evident in the final product.
- 12 oz whole jalapenos about 12 2" jalapenos
- ½ cup pine nuts or walnuts
- 1 tbsp lemon juice about 1/2 lemon
- 8 cloves garlic
- 2 cup fresh basil See note
- 1½ cup olive oil high quality
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp pepper freshly ground
- ¾ cup Parmesan cheese grated
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread whole jalapenos on a lightly greased baking sheet. Slightly spray jalapenos with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake 20 minutes, turning half way through. Let cool.
- Reduce oven to 350°F. Lay nuts on sheet pan and bake for 4-5 minutes, until slightly toasted. Let cool.
- Clean basil and dry. We like using a salad spinner to dry the basil because it prevents bruising to the leaves. Remove tops from jalapenos and discard.
- Add lemon juice, pine nuts (or walnuts), jalapenos, and garlic cloves to blender and blend well. Add basil and slowly add oil while blending. Stop when all ingredients are fully incorporated. Add cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper, blend for 2-3 seconds. Add Parmesan cheese and blend. Store in air tight container with small layer of olive oil on top to help preserve green color.
Love pesto but not a huge fan of spicy food? Don’t worry! We have a wonderful Toasted Walnut Pesto that is just as easy to make! Check it out today and never buy the prepackaged pesto again!