Using avocado in place of the cheese and a hefty portion of the olive oil adds even more healthful fats to this beautifully green, flavor-packed, super useful sauce that's a version of pesto. It also makes it remarkably, delightfully, irresistibly creamy. So so so creamy—and without any cheese! Use it to coat linguine, just like classic pesto, spread it on toast for an intense version of avocado toast, or dollop it onto grain bowls or on fried eggs for a burst of flavor. It's also great slathered on grilled vegetables or served next to a juicy grilled chicken.
The mix of basil and parsley here is unusual, but the strong flavor of the parsley stands up to the richness of the avocado. Feel free to use all basil—especially if you're making pesto as a way of using up all the excess basil in your garden!
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 lemon
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 1 medium avocado
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt to taste
- Peel and chop the garlic. Put it in a food processor.
- Scrub the lemon clean. Use a Microplane or zester to remove about 1 teaspoon of zest from the lemon. If you don't have a Microplane or a zester, use a vegetable peeler to remove just the thin yellow outer layer of the lemon—avoid the bitter white pith beneath the yellow!—and chop it. Add the zest to the food processor with the garlic.
- Pulse the food processor to mince the garlic and lemon zest together. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides as needed.
- Add the basil leaves and parsley leaves to the food processor. Pulse until everything turns into a green paste. Again, use a spatula to scrape down the sides as needed to keep the mixture .
- Add the pine nuts to the mix. Pulse to combine them into the paste.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the avocado in half lengthwise around the pit. Twist the two halves to loosen them from the pit and pull the halves apart. Use a spoon to scoop out the pit and discard it; use the spoon to scoop the avocado into the food processor. Whirl the processor to create an integrated sauce.
- Cut the zested lemon in half and squeeze half of it into the mixture. Whirl the processor to combine. With the processor running, pour in the olive oil.
- Once everything is combined, give it a taste. Add salt to taste—about 1/2 teaspoon should be good, but feel free to start with less and add more as needed to make the flavor shine.
If you want it to stay greener longer, blanch the basil first. If you want to make it ahead, transfer the avocado basil pesto to a container, cover it with waxed paper, parchment paper, or plastic wrap pressed directly against the surface, and chill it up to 2 days.