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Almond Pistou

4 from 1 vote

If you love Italian basil pesto then you'll love France's answer to it. It's loaded with basil, cheese and plenty of almonds to give it a nuttier finish.

Written By Brad Archer


It might sound a little fancy, but ultimately, almond pistou is just a modified version of a classic basil pesto with almonds replacing the pine nuts and a slight adjustment to the ratios to give it a nuttier flavour.

The resultant sauce can be used just as you would use basil pesto. If you’re getting a little bored of having pesto over and over, then try this almond pistou as an alternative that’s still familiar in flavour.

What’s In Almond Pistou?

If you’ve ever made a classic basil pesto, then you’ve probably got a good idea of what you’ll need. The ratios of ingredients are a little different to a normal pesto though so make sure you stick to these quantities.

  • 70g Almonds: This is the major difference from a normal pesto. Instead of pine nuts, you’re going to use almonds. I prefer to use raw almonds that I then toast in the oven.
  • 60g Fresh Basil Leaves: Basil is the prominent flavour, even in an almond pistou. Only ever use fresh for a pesto!
  • 2 Garlic Cloves: It’s French so, of course, we’re going to include some garlic. I want to be able to taste it so go with 2 cloves.
  • 45g Parmesan Cheese: A normal pesto will contain a good quantity of cheese. We don’t want Parmesan to be the overbearing flavour here so you only need 45g.
  • 120ml Olive Oil: Olive oil will turn the paste into a sauce. You may need to adjust this slightly to get the consistency you personally want.

Substitutes and Tweaks

Instead of almonds, use cashews for a creamier sauce or use walnuts for a slightly bitter sauce.

Swap out some of the basil for parsley, coriander or mint to give it a different flavour.

If you want the pistou to be tangier, swap out some of the Parmesan for feta cheese.

Make the sauce most substantial by adding some sun-dried tomatoes or a handful of spinach leaves.

How to Make Almond Pistou

Step 1: Start by preheating your oven to 175°C or 350°F. Spread the almonds out in a single layer on a baking sheet to ensure even toasting.

Step 2: Toast the almonds in the oven for about 8 to 10 minutes. They should turn a lovely golden colour and release a nutty aroma. It’s crucial to keep a close eye after the 7-minute mark to avoid over-toasting or burning.

Consider stirring the almonds halfway through for even toasting.

Step 3: Once toasted, remove the almonds from the oven and allow them to cool. This cooling process ensures that the almonds are easier to process later without becoming almond butter.

Step 4: In a food processor, combine the cooled toasted almonds with the fresh basil leaves and garlic cloves. Pulse the ingredients until you achieve a coarse consistency. Remember, it’s essential not to over-process at this stage to retain some texture in the pistou.

Step 5: Now, add the grated Parmesan cheese to the food processor mixture. Using freshly grated cheese is recommended for the best flavour and texture.

Step 6: With the food processor running on a low setting, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. This slow addition helps in emulsifying the mixture. Continue processing until the mixture is well combined. The final texture should be a balance between a chunky paste and a smooth sauce.

Step 7: Season your pistou with salt and pepper. It’s a good practice to start with a pinch of each, then taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly.

Almond Pistou Recipe

Almond Pistou Recipe

4 from 1 vote
Course: SidesCuisine: FrenchDifficulty: Easy


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This is my recipe for a classic almond pistou from France.


  • 70 g 70 Almonds

  • 60 g 60 Fresh Basil Leaves

  • 2 2 Garlic Cloves

  • 45 g 45 Parmesan Cheese, Grated

  • 120 ml 120 Olive Oil

  • Salt

  • Black Pepper


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F /175°C. Spread the almonds out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast them in the oven for about 8-10 minutes until golden and fragrant. Keep a close eye on them to prevent burning. Once they’re toasted, allow them to cool.
  • Combine the cooled toasted almonds, basil, and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped.
  • Add the Parmesan cheese to the food processor. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Process until the mixture is well combined but still has some texture.
  • Season the pistou with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the pistou to a jar or airtight container and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.

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