Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Lemon Almond Pesto

This is one of the most unusual and delicious pestos I have ever made. It is loosely based on something I saw in a magazine, originally from the Sunkist Lemon website, but I perfected it. May I brag? I served it over pasta, but it would be outstanding with chicken, vegetables and fish. Drizzle over one of my pizzas for total satisfaction. There just aren’t enough days to eat all the delicious food out there, am I right?

(I used my Vitamix Blender and the pesto was totally creamy and smooth. I do believe a Cuisinart would do the same. )

Here’s what you need:
1 fresh lemon
½ shallot
1 clove garlic, peeled
¼ C raw almonds, toasted
½ t sweet smoked paprika
1 t sweet paprika
1 T cider vinegar
1 T rice wine vinegar (or other, similarly flavored vinegars)
½ C olive oil
¼ C water (to thin the pesto)
½ - 1 C hot pasta water to thin the pesto

Here’s what you do:
With a sharp knife, peel and seed the lemon, being careful not to lose any of the juice. Remove the sections and seeds while holding the lemon over a bowl. Place the lemon sections and all their juice, shallot and garlic in a food processor or high powdered blender and whirl until almost smooth. Add the almonds, smoked paprika, sweet paprika and vinegars and whirl until nuts are very smooth. While the motor is running, drizzle in the olive oil very slowly.  Add the water and thin to desired consistency.

Collect about a cup of water from your boiling pasta and set it aside. Add as much as you want to make your pesto creamy and thick. I ended up adding about ¾ C.

Serve this with roasted vegetables or a tossed salad. Shaved parmesan would be excellent over this.

(printable recipe)


  1. This pesto sauce sounds fresh and lovely. I have a bunch of lemons here to use up!

  2. Yes, the sauce was very fresh tasting! And it only used one lemon!

  3. I really like this. Anything lemon based is good for me. A light fresh taste. Thanks for the recipe!

  4. Yes, Pam, I agree.....lemon is always fresh tasting, even on this pasta.

  5. Yes, Sara, it was really great! Light and tasty!


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