Purple Basil Pesto: A Unique Twist to a Classic Recipe

Mediterranean Diet

Prepare for a tasty adventure about making your usual dishes pop with color and excitement! In this article, we're going deep into purple Basil. This super exciting herb adds a cool twist to your cooking game. We'll check out what makes purple Basil unique, how it tastes, and why it's so awesome to use in your recipes.

Purple Basil isn't just any old herb – it's a secret weapon that makes your food taste amazing and look fantastic. By this article's end, you'll know how to apply purple Basil magic to your meals. So, let's jump in and explore all the cool things this herb can do!

Purple Basil Pesto Recipe

Serves: 6 tablespoons - Total Time: 15 minutes



Ingredients for making Purple Basil Pesto: hydroponic purple basil, Italian extra virgin olive oil from Papa Vince, parmesan cheese, garlic, sea salt, pine nuts and lemon

* Walnuts, Pistachios, and Almonds can easily replace Pine Nuts in Pesto recipes.
** Pecorino Romano, Asiago, and Manchego Cheese can replace Parmesan Cheese.

How to Make

Creating your own Purple Basil Pesto opens the door to a new world of culinary possibilities. With its unique color and distinctive taste, this pesto is a testament to the creativity that can be found in the kitchen. Enjoy making and savoring this delightful twist on a classic recipe.

(1) Prepare the Purple Basil

Gently rinse these purple basil leaves in cold water. Then, pat them dry using a paper towel or a clean kitchen towel. No wet leaves allowed!

(2) Time to Toast those Pine Nuts!

Toss them into a small skillet (without any oil) and cook them on medium heat. Keep stirring them until they turn golden brown and smell nutty and unique. Take them off the heat and let them cool down.

(3) Combine Ingredients

In a food processor or blender, add the washed and dried purple basil leaves, toasted pine nuts, and the smashed garlic clove. TIP: Give it a few pulses to break everything down and make a paste.

(4) Drizzle in Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Slowly drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil with the food processor or blender running. Adding olive oil helps create a smooth and cohesive pesto consistency.

(5) Add Lemon Juice and Salt

Stop the machine and scrape the sides. Toss in the fresh lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt. They're the secret ingredients that give your pesto that extra kick and balance.

(6) Incorporate Parmesan Cheese

Get the finely grated Parmesan cheese in there. Start the processor again and add the cheese little by little. This makes your pesto all creamy.

(7) Taste and Adjust

Take a taste break to see if your pesto is good. You can add salt, lemon juice, or cheese if it needs more zing.

(8) Final Blending

It's time to blend everything until it's all mixed and mingling nicely. You can make it as chunky or as smooth as you like.

(9) Storage

Transfer the Purple Basil Pesto to a clean, airtight container. To maintain its vibrant color, press a layer of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pesto before sealing the container with a lid.

(10) Enjoy and Serve

Purple Basil Pesto is incredibly versatile. Use it as a pasta sauce, spread it on sandwiches, drizzle it over grilled vegetables, or mix it into soups for extra flavor and color.

Spaghetti with Pesto and parmesan cheese, in a white bowl

About Purple Basil

LocAL Lettuce Heads Farm Purple Basil Leaves


Purple Basil takes the basil taste and gives it a cool twist. It's a bit spicier and peppery compared to regular Basil. The taste is fancy, with hints of clove and anise, like secret flavors that excite your food. This purple Basil is a fun way to give your favorite recipes a new and creative flavor boost.


Purple Basil is a bit different. Its leaves are smaller and bumpy. They're tougher than Genovese Basil, so you get a satisfying crunch when eating them. The crinkled leaves also make a visual contrast when used in salads or garnish.


Purple Basil is pretty special. It has a unique flavor and an excellent purple color that can make your food look and taste amazing. It's a bit spicy, making trying new dishes that mix different flavors enjoyable. Purple basil pesto, for instance, introduces a visually stunning twist to the classic recipe while adding an unexpected layer of flavor to your dishes.

A World of Basil Varieties

Genovese, Purple, Thai, Lemon and Cinnamon Basil from LocAL Lettuce Heads Farm in Alabama

Beyond the common Genovese Basil and Purple Basil, a fascinating array of basil varieties awaits exploration in the culinary world.

Thai Basil is all about spice and a hint of anise (kind of like licorice). It's significant in dishes from Southeast Asia. You'll find it rocking the taste of stir-fries, curries, and spring rolls.

Lemon Basil is the Classic Basil with a lemony twist! It's like adding a burst of citrusy freshness to both sweet and savory dishes. It's the secret ingredient to fantastic salads, marinades, and even desserts like sorbets.

Cinnamon Basil offers warm and spicy notes reminiscent of cinnamon and cloves. This basil variety lends a unique sweet and savory flavor to dishes. It shines in both baked goods and hearty stews.

Each of these basils is like a ticket to food experiments. They'll make your cooking smell and taste incredible and help you break free from the usual recipes. Try them out to add a bit of adventure – from exciting spices to zesty zing – to your meals!

Why is Purple Basil Pesto Green?

If you're wondering why your purple pesto turned green instead of that pretty purple you hoped for, I've got the scoop for you! A chemical reaction happens when you process those gorgeous purple basil leaves in the food processor.

Do you know that vibrant purple color? It's because of a compound called anthocyanin in the leaves. But here's the thing: as you process the leaves, the heat generated during grinding can cause the purple color to fade slightly.

See, anthocyanin is a bit sensitive to heat and other factors. So, what ends up happening is that the green chlorophyll that's always naturally present in the leaves takes over, and that's why your pesto turned green.

But here's the silver lining – even though the color changed, the taste is still out-of-this-world amazing! So, while your pesto might not be purple, it's still a flavor-packed delight that's definitely worth savoring. Keep enjoying that delicious pesto magic!

What Oil Should I Use?

Extra Virgin Olive Oil is recommended when making pesto. This high-quality, mild-flavored oil won't overpower the other ingredients. It complements the Basil, garlic, and other components without overshadowing their tastes.

High-Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Papa Vince features

The Radiant Versatility of Purple Basil Pesto

Among the culinary treasures waiting to be uncovered, Purple Basil Pesto is a captivating creation that can elevate your dishes. Check out these incredible ways to use it:

Pasta Magic: Toss cooked pasta with Purple Basil Pesto for a stunning dish that tantalizes the palate and delights the eyes with its rich purple hue. Add some cherry tomatoes and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan for a complete culinary experience.

Pasta with pesto sauce

Marinade Trick: Use Purple Basil Pesto as a marinade for grilled meats or vegetables. Its aromatic flavor profile can infuse a delightful twist to your dishes, giving your food a fancy flavor makeover and turning plain ingredients into gourmet goodness.

Salmon fillets being brushed with pesto sauce

Savory Spreads: Spread Purple Basil Pesto on sandwiches or wraps. It's like adding color and taste to your regular lunch. Suddenly, your meal becomes an experience that'll impress anyone who tries it.

Chicken sandwich with mozzarella cheese and pesto sauce spread

Fancy Starters: Create visually stunning appetizers by dolloping Purple Basil Pesto on crostini or bruschetta. The striking purple hue adds a pop of color that's enticing.

Fancy bruschetta with bocconcini and pesto sauce

Creative Dips: Incorporate Purple Basil Pesto into creamy dips, hummus, or yogurt-based sauces for a refreshing take on traditional flavors. It's a versatile ingredient that can elevate your snacking game.

bread with pesto, and extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar dip

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