September 20, 2013

[VeganMoFo 2013] Vegan Basil Almond Pesto in a Mortar and Pestle

This post should have been published few days ago. But, you know Life. It gets busier when one least expects it and now I have jotted down so many things in my "to-do-list" that I have stopped frantically checking it for every few minutes. I took a deep breath, closed everything else and sat down to - write about my absolute favorite way to make pesto, not in a food processor but the old way, in a mortar and pestle. :-)

I have been introduced to the whole concept of pesto much later in my life. The first time I tasted was at a friend's place while doing my masters. I still remember the burst of flavors in my mouth and wondering what it could be. It was like a drug - the more I ate it, the more I fell in love with it. I came back home and a simple google search led to so many different recipes of pesto. All I needed was - a herb, a nut, garlic, salt and tons of good olive oil. Surprising how minimal the steps were and so easy to make. It opened a new gamut of Italian cooking and pesto is my first adventure into making non-Indian recipes.

Flash forward few years and here we are, with a beautiful basil plant as pictured above. That is from our tiny roof garden. What started as few small seedlings from dear friend Arundati, in just a few months has grown this big. The credit goes to my husband who watered and took care of it diligently. and my job was to make pesto. That is the deal. There is a certain delight in using some muscle power to pound fresh basil leaves in mortar and pestle. The same recipe can be very easily made in a food processor. You can also add some paramesan cheese at the end for a non-vegan version.


Vegan Basil Almond Pesto in a Mortar and Pestle

Make Time: 15 mins


few raw almonds
handful of fresh basil leaves
about 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3-4 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled
freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt - to taste
red pepper flakes


1. Lightly dry roast almonds. Cool and keep aside.

2. In a mortar, add almonds and pound them until coarse powder.

3. Add basil leaves, peeled garlic and salt. 

4. Add olive oil little by little and make a paste out of the ingredients. Adjust seasoning and add lemon juice. 

5. Boil your favorite pasta. Heat a tbsp of olive oil in a pan, add pesto and pasta. Toss together. Mix in red pepper flakes and Serve. 

This is Recipe 59 added to my The 100 Recipe Challenge for Year 2013. Check out the rest of the recipes too.


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until next recipe,


  1. I have never used almonds in pesto, lovely recipe ! would love to taste it asap.. :)

  2. Pesto looks divine. I'm unable to find vegan pesto, in Atlanta...

    I have to try this pesto, the recipe sounds simple and yummy!

    Thanks again for so many vegan recipes, good for health and our beautiful Mother Earth!

  3. Yum, I bet this pesto was delish!


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