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These past few days have been extraordinarily beautiful. I’m talking 70’s, sunny but not overly so, and cool nights, perfect for sleeping. I have always been the sort who feels immense gratitude for nature and its beauty, but these perfect spring days are almost too precious. I love them so much I almost don’t believe they’re real. Where does that come from?! I think it’s this “waiting for the other shoe to drop” mentality that I developed as a teenager, when life was far from rosy. In fact, it was downright sucky, a lot of the time. Raising myself from my early teens left this deep impression on me. If things seemed too good to be true, they most certainly were. And while I’ve learned that can certainly be true some of the time, it’s equally possible for life to be just. that. good. Truly as good as it seems.
I feel the same way about this pesto. Believe it or not, I wondered whether delicious pesto was possible AIP-style. Whether creamy, thick, nut-free pesto was possible. Turns out, it is. Very much so.
The secret is a combination of plenty of basil, olive oil, and palm shortening. There are other important, magical ingredients of course, but it is this combination that creates a thick, luscious pesto.
Pesto is a beloved sauce, for many reasons. But the star, I feel, will always be the basil. Far, far more than fodder for pesto, basil is revered as magical in various cultures and religious. Romanians use it to bless holy water and homes, sending away illness and negativity and inviting health and purification. Basil is also seen as an aphrodisiac and a talisman that increases attraction and vitality. Truly, basil is deeply woven in Romanian culture and spiritual life.
The same can be said for Indian culture, where it is celebrated in yearly Hindu festivals and worshiped as a holy plant.
Seen as balancing and calming, basil has numerous health benefits, from pain-reducer to cancer-fighter.
Plus it’s just so darn tasty. Not to mention, incredibly versatile. Spread it over oven-roasted root vegetables. Serve it atop grilled meat. I’ve even been known to eat it by itself. It would taste divine served with a number of our dishes:
The truth is, sometimes life hands you a magic talisman. Sometimes, the spring day IS a harbinger for more beautiful days ahead. And an AIP pesto really can be just as delicious as its nut + dairy counterpart. Hang on and believe, friends.
Enjoy this pesto! If you make this, #letscreatethesweetlife so we can see your creations!
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This recipe is featured on Phoenix Helix’s Recipe Roundtable #217!! If you haven’t already, check them out – such a tremendous resource for the AIP community!
Delicious AIP Pesto (Paleo + Whole30)
Thick and creamy, this basil pesto made with nutritional yeast + garlic will be the perfect accompaniment to all your favorite dishes! From chicken and pork to roasted veggies and zoodles, this is the most delicious pesto! Totally nut and dairy free. As always.
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon palm shortening
- 1 cup tightly packed basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons coconut water or filtered water
- 1/2 teaspoon nutritional yeast
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Roughly chop garlic clove. Place all ingredients in food processor and process until smooth. Enjoy!!