Peruvian Style Pesto

Peruvian Style Pesto


I have mentioned in a couple of posts that I come from a multicultural family which makes things pretty amazing where food is concerned.  My dad is from Peru but because he left at such a young age, we weren’t taught a whole lot about the culture.  He has always been proud of his heritage and there are a few traditions that he carried on.  One of them being the food! There were a hand full of Peruvian dishes that my dad would make at home and we all loved it when he did.

One of those dishes is Tallarin Verde; spaghetti tossed in a basil based sauce.  In our house it was always called green spaghetti. I never even knew it was called Tallarin Verde until I started going to Peruvian restaurants! This dish is usually served with a big old steak on top.  So good!  My dad stopped cooking years ago and then my mom would make it from time to time.  We even switched the noodles to gluten free once we could find ones that tasted good and then my sister went paleo and I went semi paleo and my mom gave up!  The sauce is basically a pesto so it does call for cheese.  My dad would use like a quarter pound of feta cheese in his sauce!

My dad was so funny when he would cook too.  The whole kitchen had to be left to him.  He didn’t want anyone is his way and then there was the mess afterwards!  Once my mom was out and my dad was making green spaghetti for dinner.  He was mixing up the sauce in the blender and had left the lid off!  There was green sauce all over the kitchen and the ceiling! Thinking about it cracks me up.  I think of it almost every time I use my blender which makes me triple check that I put the lid on!

Obviously there are a lot of memories around green spaghetti, but the flavor is all in the sauce.  Since I try to stay away from cheese and don’t eat much pasta nowadays I decided to paloe-ify my dad’s Peruvian style pesto.  I’ve seen many recipes that include pine nuts like a traditional pesto but he never used any of that.  I did need to add a bit of nuttiness to replace the flavor of the cheese though.  I tried a few different combinations and they were all good, but I think this one tastes the most like my dad’s sauce.  It is super simple to whip up in a blender or food processor and you can use it on just about anything!  I love it on veggies, spaghetti squash, sandwiches, and meat too.


Peruvian Style Pesto 02


Peruvian Style Pesto 01



1/2 tsp vegetable oil

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/3 cup olive oil

3 cups fresh basil

1 heaping cup baby spinach

1/4 cup undalted cashews

1/4 cup walnuts

1 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp black pepper



Pour vegetable oil into a pan and heat the pan on medium heat.  Add the chopped garlic to the pan and cook on medium/low heat until the garlic turns golden.  Remove from heat.

Add the garlic and the rest of the ingredients to a food processor or blender.  I use my vitamix.  Blend until it becomes a thick creamy sauce.  Enjoy it on some avocado toast or meat and veggies.  The sauce freezes well too so you can always freeze it for later.  I had mine on spaghetti squash this time and loved it!  I hope my dad’s Peruvian style pesto brings you guys as many sweet memories as it has brought me!


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