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Joy Bauer's Pecan Pesto

Joy Bauer's Pecan Pesto
makes 1½ cups

Chef notes

Pesto gets a nutty makeover! While the traditional recipe calls for pine nuts, I'm shaking things up by incorporating antioxidant-filled pecans into my rendition. Between the fresh basil, Parmesan, garlic, lemon, olive oil and buttery pecans, the flavor is rich and the texture is thick and creamy. While I love pesto tossed with pasta (who doesn't?), I also like to pair it with scrambled eggs, mix it into chicken salad, drizzle some over roasted sweet potatoes and spread it on sandwiches and crostini. Is your mouth watering yet?


  • 3 cups basil leaves (stems removed)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese
  • 1 cup pecans (lightly toasted or raw)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped (or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6-8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


Combine the basil, Parmesan, pecans, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender and pulse until finely chopped. Add the water and scrape down the sides as needed to ensure everything is well-combined. Then drizzle in the oil while you continue to pulse until everything is evenly blended (start with 6 tablespoons and check consistency; add an additional tablespoon at a time until it's the texture you prefer). Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

Serve on crostini, roasted sweet potatoes or toss with your favorite pasta.