For a long time I disliked traditional pesto, preferring a similar parsley-based variety. But my tastes have adapted, and I now fully appreciate the wonderful aroma and vibrancy of traditional basil-based pesto (although I do often still throw in a handful of parsley along with the basil).

Since traditional pesto uses parmesan cheese, it’s good to have a non-dairy (pareve) option for use with chicken and meat dishes, or to serve with challah at your Shabbat meal. I highly recommend this one, but it's definitely the kind of thing you can tweak to your liking.


  • ¼ cup mild-tasting nuts (pine nuts and walnuts are the most common; I sometimes use cashews)
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 150 grams basil (5 oz. or 4-5 cups)
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Juice of 1-2 lemons


  1. Use a food processor or strong blender. Pulse nuts and garlic into rough crumb texture.
  2. Add basil and salt and pulse until finely chopped.
  3. Slowly add in oil and then lemon juice last.
  4. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  5. Keeps in the fridge for at least two weeks.

Yields: Approximately 1½ cups pesto