Friday, January 21, 2011

Purple Basil Pesto

Min from Honest Vanilla is hosting Weekend Herb Blogging and this week I've got  Purple Basil.

purple basil© by Haalo

While it doesn't look as vibrant as regular green basil it still has that wonderful basil aroma and taste.

This may be a coincidence but January 17th wasn't just the birthday of this blog but it was also Pesto Day. So to celebrate, I've made purple basil pesto. To be perfectly honest, it isn't as eye catching as the traditional green, it looks a bit like olive paste in colour but it tastes every bit as good.

purple basil pesto© by Haalo

Purple Basil Pesto

1 bunch purple basil, washed, leaves picked (cleaned weight 35 grams)
1 garlic clove, peeled
sea salt
2 teaspoons pine nuts
15 grams grated Reggiano Parmigiano
olive oil

I've made this using a mortar and pestle - you could use a food processor but I find the mortar & pestle does it quicker.

Place the garlic and a good pinch of sea salt into the pestle. Pound until smooth. Add in the basil leaves and mash until they start to break down - tip in the pine nuts and continue to grind. Lastly add the grated Parmigiano and stir it through - it will thicken the mixture. Keep stirring as you start drizzling in the olive oil until it reaches the right consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

To store, cover the pesto generously with a layer of oil to stop it from oxidising.


  1. a very lovely recipe --thanks for sharing !

  2. That is a lovely bunch of basil, and I really like the look of the pesto. Some how purple basil pesto isn't something that has ever occured to me, thanks for introducing us!

  3. indeed pesto looks funny and not recognisable :)

  4. Hi!
    This is my first comment... even if i follow you regularly!
    Love this pesto!
    I made it too
    with hazelnuts!
    I was so happy to find that basil...not so easy to find at all! :)

    Compliments for your great blog! :)


  5. I have not seen pesto made with purple basil before. I have seen it made with other ingredients, but they are always green. I think the purple looks more sophisticated.

  6. Thanks Priya!

    Thanks Adele - the purple can be hard to find which doesn't help its cause

    Thanks Dalia

    Thank you Terry, glad you enjoy the site. I love hazelnuts so next time I must try your recipe, it looks lovely!

    Thanks Lisa - you are right, it's usually other green herbs or plants, strange how we associate pesto with green even when we're not using basil.


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