Thai basil pesto is the perfect blend of flavors. It takes minutes to make and can be used for so many different things, such as on pasta, and salads.
This recipe for Thai basil pesto is delicious. It creates a simple yet versatile pesto that has so many uses. Use this pesto for things such as salads, pastas, sandwiches, pesto butters, or even soup.
Making this thai basil pesto is so easy! Just place all ingredients in a food processor and blend. Yes, that’s all there is to it.
This recipe uses red chili (pepper) flakes, but don’t let that stop you from making it.
This Thai basil pesto has a bit of a bite to it (in terms of chili). However, you can adjust the chili to your liking or remove it altogether.
What is Pesto?
Pesto is a sauce which originated in Italy. Typically, pesto is made by crushing ingredients in a food processor or with a mortar and pestle.
There are many variations of pestos around the world, but the most basic pesto uses ingredients like basil, garlic, olive oil, and nuts.
This Thai basil pesto is a spin off this traditional Italian recipe for pesto.
What is Thai Basil?
Thai basil is a type of basil. It is considered a herb.
Thai basil has pointed leaves and grows with purple flowers and stems. Thai basil has a stronger flavor than the typical sweet basil that is found in grocery stores. It has a slight smell and taste of anise (like liquorice).
Thai basil leaves are usually smaller than sweet basil leaves.
Thai basil is perfect to use in Asian dishes, such as with grilled chicken, curries, salads, and stir fries.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- This Thai basil pesto is super easy to make and takes about 5 minutes to make.
- There are only 10 ingredients used in this pesto recipe.
- Use this pesto as a base for pasta, on salads, a spread for sandwiches, or even for a pesto butter.
Please note that below is a guide for some of the ingredients we used in the recipe. The printable recipe further down the page has the complete list of ingredients, including quantities and step-by-step instructions.
- Thai basil leaves: If you are not able to get Thai basil leaves, you can use any kind of basil that you have on hand, such as sweet basil leaves. However, the flavor of the pesto will change depending on the type of basil you use. You may also need to adjust the amount of basil you use if you are using another type because each basil type has its own intensity of flavor.
- Minced garlic
- Peanuts: Some peanuts come salted. If you use salted peanuts, you may need to add less salt to your pesto when you season it.
- Sesame Oil
- Fish Sauce: You can use soy sauce instead if you are looking for a vegetarian alternative.
- Red Pepper Flakes (chilli flakes)
- Light Flavored Oil: Use an oil such as vegetable oil or extra virgin olive oil.
- Dark Brown Sugar
- Lime Juice
- Salt and Pepper
This Thai basil pesto recipe serves 2. It makes about ½ cup (120 grams, 4.23 ounces) of pesto.
Step One: In a food processor, place all ingredients. Pulse until the mixture is smooth and like a pesto consistency.
If you find your pesto rising up the sides of your food processor, scrape down the sides with a spatula (when the machine is not on).
When the pesto is to the consistency to your liking, remove from the food processor and store in a glass jar or container.
Cost To Make
Estimated cost = $7.86 for 2 serves, or $3.93 per serve.
Substitutions / Variations
You could include pine nuts instead of peanuts.
Substitute sweet basil leaves for Thai basil leaves if you are not able to use Thai basil leaves.
Serve this Thai basil pesto on sandwiches, with salads, or even on pasta.
You could even make this Thai basil pesto into a flavored butter.
Store this Thai basil pesto in the fridge in a glass jar or container with a lid for up to 2 to 3 days.
You can use this easy Thai basil pesto recipe as a spread on sandwiches, for a Thai basil pesto pasta sauce, for noodles, to make basil pesto butter, or even on salads.
Yes, you can.
Made this recipe? Let us know how it went in the comments below! We'd love to hear how it turned out.
Thai Basil Pesto
- 2 cups (40 grams, 1.41 ounces) Thai basil leaves
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams, 1.06 ounces) peanuts
- 1 ½ teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoons fish sauce or soy sauce, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes or 1 hot pepper chili, add more if you want a spicier pesto
- 2 tablespoons light flavored oil e.g. vegetable oil or extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar or to taste
- 1 ½ teaspoon Lime juice or to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a food processor, place all ingredients. Pulse until the mixture is smooth and like a pesto consistency. If you find your pesto rising up the sides of your food processor, scrape down the sides with a spatula (when the machine is not on). Serve.