This vegan variation on pesto joined my recipe rotation out of necessity. Given how labor-intensive gnocchi is (to a pasta-making novice such as myself), I figured a no-cook make-ahead sauce would be a great timesaver. But my ricotta basil gnocchi shares two key ingredients with my original pesto recipe—fresh basil leaves and parmesan cheese—and I didn’t have any more to spare. I already know that pesto can be made with nearly any combination of herbs and nuts, but I had to go a-Googling to find a suitable substitute for the cheese. I was thrilled to discover numerous recipes using capers. I’ve had these little buggers in my pantry for ages, looking for a dish to add them to, so this was perfect!
4 ounces fresh parsley
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) roasted salted almonds
Juice of 1 lemon (2 tablespoons lemon juice)
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
measuring cups and spoons
bowl scraper, or baking spatula
1. Combine parsley, almonds, lemon juice, capers, garlic, salt, and pepper in food processor. Process until mixture is well chopped.
2. Scrape down sides of bowl, then process again while drizzling oil into mixture until it forms into a sauce and has a uniform consistency—about 5 minutes.
NOTES & TIPS
• This pesto has a paste-like texture. Great for smearing on as a sandwich condiment or marinade. For a looser, sauce-like consistency, add more oil, or a splash or two of pasta water.
• This recipe makes a lot, but don’t worry; it’s freezable!