The cashews give this pesto a rich filling creaminess. The recipe can be (and perhaps SHOULD be!) modified easily according to your self/collective resources and tastes. I used green tomato, kale, and pepper for this recipe because we harvested an abundance from the UIC Heritage Garden. I’ve made this with zucchini noodles for a vegan pasta, a stir-in for sauteed vegetables or/and used the rest of it as a light dip for veggies or chips. The pesto can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Otherwise, it could/should be frozen.  


  • 5 medium cloves garlic (according to taste)
  • Pinch coarse kosher/sea salt
  • 4 cups basil leaves (about 5 ounces total)
  • 1 cup raw unsalted cashews
  • 1 generous tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, less/more as needed
  • 1 Hot green pepper (optional)
  • 1 Green Tomato (optional)
  • Other options- parsley, kale, bell pepper, oregano, black pepper etc.


  1. Place your cup of raw cashews in water overnight. They should get soak up some water and gain volume. This will allow the dip to be really light and blend smooth.
  2. The next morning, rinse the basil leaves and whatever other greens you would like (I’ve added a bit of Kale before) well and transfer them to a food processor without drying them.
  3. Add the cashews, pepper, lemon juice, tomato, pepper and garlic. Puree to achieve the desired consistency.
  4. With the motor running, gradually add the oil to form an emulsified pesto. Taste, and add water (for consistency) or salt as needed.
  5. Transfer to a container; if not using right away, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pesto before sealing and refrigerating for up to 3 days.