Thai Basil Pecan Pesto

Kevin got a new photography toy! They call it a beauty dish. It’s supposed to distribute light perfectly across the model you’re shooting.


Don’t let the name of the product fool you, it will not drastically improve the beauty of your subject. Especially if that subject just started up with spin classes after a 3 month hiatus, is busy getting ready for her trip to India, and just completed a 16 hour work day.

(pretty sure I was in the middle of a sneeze in the third picture. So attractive, but so totally me)

Then we moved on to playing around with his wireless triggerinig system… Pebbles was brought into the mix too.

Recommendation: your model should be an actual model. Oh, and their retinas should be stronger than the average human. Those lights burn, baby!

Once I recovered from the trauma of chasing blue honeycomb shapes around with my eyes, I became hungry and skipped off to the kitchen; yes, literally skipped, to create something I’d never attempted before.

Do you ever get an overly creative recipe idea and just run with it without doing any research? Do they ever turn out right?

Mine don’t. Ever.

Case and point – chia butter.

I thought it was a good idea, too! But combining chia and honey in a food processor will break the motor and result in the stickiest seed butter you’ve ever seen.

Or there were the flax cupcakes

Don’t let the pretty pictures fool you as they did me. Replacing the flour in a recipe with ground flax seed will give you the blandest cupcakes known to man. Thankfully the cream cheese icing was delicious.

In my defense, not all of my creative ideas have been a total bust. I combined pureed pumpkin and coconut butter randomly and ended up with the best no bake treat I’ve ever made… but I digress.

So what had me skipping to the kitchen? A savory coconut flour pizza crust! It was going to be epic. High in protein, fiber, thin, crunchy and perfect.

It was thin… but far from perfect. It was mushy, too sweet, burnt and tasted horrible.

I couldn’t bring myself to throw out the whole pizza, so I scraped off the toppings, added it to a bowl of greens and enjoyed a pesto and shrimp salad instead. There were little pieces of coconut crust in the mix, sort of like soggy croutons at the bottom of an old salad. Mmmm…

Thankfully the Thai basil pesto I’d whipped up for the sauce of the pizza ended up stealing the show, making my evening in the kitchen worth it’s while.

Thai Basil Pecan Pesto

Vegan, Gluten free, Dairy free, Sugar free, Yeast free, Corn free, Grain free

The Thai basil gives this pecan based pesto a warm licorice taste.

Thai basil has an identifiable licorice flavor not present in sweet basil and holds its flavor much better when cooked in higher temperatures. It exhibits small narrow leaves with purple stems and makes a great addition to green smoothies!

Yield: 1/2 cup

Servings: 8


  • 1/2 cup raw pecans, walnuts, or a mixture of both
  • 2 cups Thai basil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan rock salt or Herbamare
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Place nuts in the bowl of your food processor and pulse until broken down, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add basil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. Pulse to mix, until basil leaves have been incorporated with the nuts.
  3. Add olive oil and process until combined and until pesto has reached desired consistency.

View nutrition facts

Any ideas on what I should do with all the leftover pesto?

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Comments | Leave Your Comment

  1. Yes, even today I had a kitchen failure. And I photograph them, too. Today I was making a Spanish soup with dumplings. The dumpling batter was really wet and when I tipped them into the soup to cook, they disintegrated into the soup, giving it a bread-texture – ick. Sigh. Thanks for string your own failures, too!

  2. Ohhhh… I fail on the regular. Are you going to try again with the coconut flour crust? It sounds like a great idea!

    Love this pesto – especially the thai basil. You could toss it with pasta, use it for a sandwich spread, thin it out for a dressing, make pinwheel wraps with chicken or other meat… or freeze it!

  3. Awww :( The pizza looks sooo amazing, though! Oh well, the pesto still looks good! Why don’t you toss the pesto with some pasta? I recently bought some black bean pasta-excited to try! Or you could spread it on shrimp or chicken and grill. I also like mixing pesto with hummus to get the same pesto-flavor with more protein.

    to answer your question-yes, I mess up in the kitchen all the time. Today I tried making paleo chocolate lava cakes. They tasted good, but definitely not lava. I think the problem was I added the egg mix into the hot melted chocolate, so it was all clumpy-gah!

    P.S. You still look super cute even if you are sneezing :P

  4. I love how you admit to your failures. It makes you all the more lovable, knowing that you make mistakes as well. Of course I hear how ridiculous that is to say as I write it–we ALL make mistakes, but you know what I mean. And I LOVE that first pic of you in the purple shirt, looking like you are about to eat the camera. Makes me giggle every time I keep looking at it. xo

  5. I’ve never tried thai basil – I see it all the time on my favorite takeout restaurant’s menu, but have never taken the leap to try it. It sounds like a super unique pesto – maybe put it over some chicken?

  6. We put pesto on our salmon and sprinkle it with chopped nuts (same as whatever nuts are in the pesto, we make walnut pesto), then bake it as usual, it is soooo good like that!

  7. Oh too bad the coconut crust didn’t turn out! I was excited to try it, but I’m still really excited to try this pesto. Loooooooove pesto. I always make extra and freeze them in 1-2 tbsp cubes to easily add to recipes when I want a little extra pesto flavor.

    Also, pesto on toast with eggs is delicious :)

  8. “Do you ever get an overly creative recipe idea and just run with it without doing any research? Do they ever turn out right?” <–

    Well I have learned to stop and wait AT LEAST a half hour, preferably 24 hours, before I do things like that b/c either 1. the craving will pass or 2. I will research it and not end up wasting time and ingredients$$ on flops. Because I dont want to waste my time or food.

    Sometimes however, they DO work and that's beautiful.

    Chia seeds + anything = kinda tricky
    Chia seeds + honey = Omg…I Can totally see the overheating/overworked food processor situation!

  9. Love when you show the flops Leanne! I just made some kale pesto the other day and I need some ideas to use that up too

    • haha it’s really a hit or a miss. I’ve been using a softbox with a combination of on camera flash and a wireless triggering system to get the result I want but it’s so random. Sometimes the pictures turn out awesome and sometimes not so much… drives me nuts!

  10. The thai basil pesto sounds heavenly! I’m thinking of growing thai basil this year in my urban (balcony) garden. I really love raw kale salad with pesto, if you are in need of inspiration!

  11. My epic fails came in the form of trying to bake cookies with stevia, using salsa as a base for pasta sauce (I don’t know how salsa could be that bad, but WOW was it bad) and messing up brownies when I didn’t really know the recipe proportions. There have been some others, but those were the worst. The salsa pasta – that was EPIC.

    There are so many ingredients that are impossible to find in France. Thai basil is one of them – so are tomatillos. Maybe they have another name and are in disguise. :(

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