Home Dips and Spreads Basil and Cashew Pesto

Basil and Cashew Pesto

by Adrianne

Basil and Cashew Pesto is a great alternative to traditional basil pesto substituting cashew nuts instead of pine nuts. This easy pesto recipe is versatile and quickly whipped up in the food processor.

Basil and Cashew Pesto in a glass jar surrounded by pita chips

Nut pesto recipes are a great alternative to dips and spreads like our Olive Tapenade recipes. Try the Rocket and Cashew Pesto and use the Easy Crostini as a serving idea! Or the Roast Capsicum Pesto for a pop of colour! 

Pesto is a super easy recipe to make, throwing all ingredients into the food processor and blitzing to combine.

Our Artichoke Olive Tapenade, Sun-Dried Tomato Tapenade and Easy Green Olive Tapenade like our pesto recipes can be stirred through pasta or served with meats, fish or chicken.  For a healthy snack, pair with the Homemade Pita Breads!

Pizza sauces, salads, flatbreads and veggie sticks are all great ways to use pesto!

Whip this through the Pesto Penne with walnut crumb for a no fuss dinner idea recipe. Or use the Sun-dried Tomato Pesto as an alternative! 


Appetizer recipes  Popular recipes Quick and Easy recipes

Can you substitute Cashews for Pine Nuts in Pesto?

Whilst Pine nuts are the most commonly used nut in pesto making, it is possible to switch them out and substitute another nut like cashews or walnuts.

Making pesto from scratch is very easy. We combine all of the ingredients in our food processor, blitz to chop and combine, then add lemon juice to desired taste.  

Adding the lemon juice at the end, allows us to get the flavour of the pesto spot on as we use the lemon juice to balance the flavours.

Use this pesto in the Bacon Pesto Pasta for an easy dinner any night of the week! 

Traditional Pesto recipes

Basil Pesto is the most popular and well known version of pesto.

It is made using fresh basil leaves, pine nuts (toasted or untoasted), garlic, olive oil and parmesan cheese. 

It is a great versatile recipe using basil leaves as the star of the show.

Try substituting it for the lemon cream sauce in the Artichoke Spaghetti for a quick dinner tonight! 

Pesto recipes without pine nuts

For this recipe we switch out the pine nuts and use cashew nuts instead.

You can also try walnuts, pecan nuts, macadamia nuts or hazlenuts!

For vegan basil pesto, substitute vegan cheese for the parmesan and keep the rest of the ingredients the same.

What is Basil Pesto used for?

Pesto can be used for a variety of dishes, try these ideas:

  • spread for toast 
  • dressing for a salad
  • stirred through pasta
  • as a pizza sauce
  • spread on cooked meats and fish
  • on flatbreads
  • as a dip

Substitute it for the cream pasta sauce in the Smoked Salmon Spaghetti for an easy weeknight dinner!

Or try using this Pesto as an alternative to the Rocket and Cashew Pesto in the Rocket Pesto Pasta.

The pesto will keep for about a week in the fridge in a jar with a lid.

It also freezes very well, so you can use at a later date. If freezing use a touch of additional lemon juice to help preserve it and keep the pesto from going brown

Once you make it and store it in the fridge, you will find you want to spread it on EVERYTHING! 

Basil and Cashew pesto ingredients

We use simple, easy to find ingredients for this recipe. The photo below shows you what you need:

Basil and Pesto ingredients on a marble background with text over lay

As you can see, we have:

  • basil leaves
  • garlic
  • olive oil
  • parmesan cheese
  • cashews
  • lemon juice 

The lemon juice doesn’t go into the pesto until the very end where we taste the pesto and adjust the flavour! 

How to make Basil and Cashew Pesto

The photos below are step by step showing you how to use the food processor to make the pesto:

Basil and Cashew Pesto method with text over lay

  1. Add basil to food processor bowl (Photo 1)
  2. Add cashews  (Photo 2)
  3. Followed by garlic (Photo 3)
  4. And parmesan cheese (Photo 4)

If you like, you can toast the cashews for 3-4 mins in a pan on the stove for an extra depth of flavour! 

Basil and Pesto Cashew Method 5 to 8 with text over lay

  • Add olive oil (shown in photo 5)
  • all ingredients ready to blitz (shown in photo 6)
  • blitz for approx 10 seconds to combine (shown in photo 7)
  • taste, add lemon juice, blitz again, repeat tasting and continue until pesto is fresh and balanced (shown in photo 8)

Storing this pesto in the fridge helps to let the flavour develop. Sometimes I think it even tastes better the day after making it! 

Basil and Cashew pesto recipe quick info:

About the recipe:

  • we only need 6 ingredients for this recipe! 
  • you can toast the cashews or leave them as it (faster)
  • I use roasted unsalted cashews
  • bottled lemon juice is fine! 

FAQs about Cashew Basil Pesto

  1. this is a vegetarian recipe
  2. blitz for less than 10 seconds
  3. you make make the pesto ahead of time
  4. the pesto will last for 1 week in the fridge
  5. the recipe makes about 1 cup of pesto

Your quick questions answered:

  1. This is a quick and easy recipe
  2. Store in the fridge in a sealed jar
  3. This is a FREEZER FRIENDLY recipe
  4. This is an EASY recipe

Basil and Cashew Pesto in a jar on the side showing the bright colour of the pesto

Expert tips:

These tips are to help you master this recipe from the 1st time you make it:

  • add everything except the lemon juice to the food processor and blitz at the one time
  • keep the blitz time short, it will take less than 10 seconds.
  • after blitzing, taste the pesto, then add lemon and combine to get the flavour spot on and not bitter! 
  • freeze this recipe ahead of time and defrost for parties, platters and more! 

Basil Pesto in a small white bowl surrounded by pita chips

Try using the pesto as an alternative to a traditional Italian style pizza sauce or flatbread topping with some melted cheese! 

Find us on Facebook right here! 

Or try the pesto with Easy Homemade Pita Chips  for a great healthy snack!Basil and Cashew Pesto in a small white bowl with spoon to the left

Dip and spread recipes 

For fuss free entertaining try these recipes:

  1. Chicken Liver Pate
  2. Easy Green Olive Tapenade
  3. Grazing Platter (to feed a crowd)
  4. Roast Capsicum Pesto
  5. Sun-Dried Tomato Tapenade
  6. Olive Tapenade
  7. Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

Add the pesto to a bowl and serve on our Grazing Platter Board, alongside the Labneh Dip!
Basil and Cashew Pesto with text over lay

PIN and save this recipe for later!

Basil Pesto in a small white bowl with a pita chip in the pesto and on the plate around the outside

Basil and Cashew Pesto

Basil and Cashew Pesto is a great alternative pesto using cashew nuts. This easy pesto recipe is versatile and quickly whipped up in the food processor.
5 from 7 votes
Print Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Australian, International
Keyword: basil and cashew pesto, basil pesto
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 192kcal
Author: Adrianne


  • Food processor


Basil and Cashew Pesto

  • 2 cups basil leaves Note 1
  • 1/2 cup cashews Note 2
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese Note 3
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice Note 4


Basil and Cashew Pesto

  • Combine basil leaves, cashew nuts, parmesan cheese and garlic in the bowl of a food processor, blitz for approximately 10 seconds.
  • Remove the lid and scrap the sides of the bowl, pushing the pesto back into the food processor.
  • Use a teaspoon to taste a small amount, then add lemon juice a little at a time, blitz for another couple of seconds then taste again. Repeat till desired taste achieved.
  • Pesto can be stored in the fridge in a sealed container for one week.



  • Note 1 Pull the leaves off the stems and add to a bowl. Don't worry if a little bit of stem gets into the mix, but for the majority, we are looking for the leaves not the stem.
  • Note 2 I use roasted unsalted cashews for this recipe.
  • Note 3 Try and get the parmesan cheese that has a real 'bite' to the taste and texture. It is THE BEST and other ones whilst still being cheese, won't taste as good. The packet will indicate 'strong flavour'. 
  • Note 4 If you want to use fresh lemon and squeeze it in, that works, but store bought lemon juice is fine, don't loose a wink of sleep over this one ingredient. 


Calories: 192kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 102mg | Potassium: 81mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 365IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe? Share on Instagram!It makes my day when you make my recipes! Tag @sweetcaramelsunday

Different pesto recipes

Once you give this recipe a go and see how easy it is to make pesto at home, you will want to serve it with everything! 

The good thing is, the quick and easy recipe means as long as you have the ingredients, you are good to go!

It won’t be a pizza party but a PESTO PARTY at your place and I know which I would rather attend. 

Pesto, pizza, party, ok, why don’t we have all 3 and a glass of vino of course. 

Let me know if you have any questions, I would love to hear your feedback in the comments below. 

Adrianne xx


Artichoke Olive Tapenade Chicken Liver Pate Sun-dried Tomato Tapenade

Family Favourites Pasta recipes  Popular recipes  Quick and Easy recipes 



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Jeannette May 26, 2020 - 9:18 am

5 stars
Oh. My. I think I just found my favorite pesto recipe! I LOVE how you add cashews to it for that beautiful nutty flavor. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful recipe!

Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry May 26, 2020 - 9:30 am

5 stars
What a delicious sounding pesto! I love the inclusion of cashews instead of pine nuts.

Adrianne May 26, 2020 - 10:00 am

Thanks Bintu! Yes, something a little different. Cheers!

Shashi May 26, 2020 - 9:33 am

5 stars
I love cashews – way more than pine nuts and I’m so glad to find this pesto that makes use of them – delicious!

Adrianne May 26, 2020 - 10:02 am

That is great to hear, thanks Shashi! They have a great unique flavour don’t they! Cheers

Caroline May 26, 2020 - 10:04 am

5 stars
I have a house of big pesto fans, and while we love it with pine nuts, I do keep considering trying other nuts. I love the idea of cashews since they have a relatively similar flavor. Looks great!

Danielle Wolter May 26, 2020 - 10:38 am

5 stars
I’ve got a whole basil plant that is getting ready to go to seed, and this is the perfect recipe to use it. Can’t wait to try it!

Adrianne August 2, 2020 - 7:55 pm

Thanks Danielle!! I hope you enjoy it. Homegrown fresh basil is THE BEST!!

Cashew Exporter June 12, 2020 - 10:59 am

5 stars
Hi Adrianne thanks for sharing this dish Basil and Cashew Pesto, I love making newly dishes every weekend I will love to have Basil and Cashew Pesto on the table.

Adrianne August 2, 2020 - 7:54 pm

No worries! Glad you like the recipe, thanks for the positive feedback. Cheers


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