Make Ahead

Cashew Tarragon Pesto

June 26, 2013
3 Ratings
  • Makes 3 cups
Author Notes

Like many of my favorite recipes, this one was a happy accident. I had hopes of making a more traditional pesto but when only parsley and tarragon peeked out from the depths of my fridge, I had to change my track. Luckily, I've found that when it comes to fresh herbs, all's fair in love and pesto. This version really highlights the delicate flavor of tarragon, gets a buttery texture from the cashews, and is bright with fresh garlic and lemon zest. It's great over hot pasta, with grilled salmon or chicken, or as a hearty sandwich spread. (Side note: I didn't make this vegan on purpose, but found I really didn't miss the cheese here.) —mollydunkncrumble

Test Kitchen Notes

This pesto is fresh and creamy and tastes of summer. It's earthy, pungent, and unlike a standard version of pesto. The combination of the tarragon and cashews lends way to an herby, nutty and creamy sweetness, while the lemon brightens the flavors and the parsley offers a solid base note that supports the whole cast. It would be terrific with fish and is a stunning topper for rustic toast, and I’ve even added more lemon juice and olive oil to thin it to a fresh and approachable salad dressing. For those who are unfamiliar with tarragon’s herb and licorice flavor, the herb will be a surprise bouquet of freshness. —FondueVoodoo

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 cup toasted cashews
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 4 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh tarragon
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Purée the first six ingredients -- from cashews through garlic -- in a food processor until well combined and only slightly chunky.
  2. Add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, and a bit of salt and pepper, and blend until a coarse paste forms.
  3. Add a few tablespoons of warm water to thin the sauce to desired consistency, and adjust seasoning to taste.
  4. Enjoy pesto on pasta, fish, chicken or bread. Fresh pesto will last, airtight, in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days, and can be frozen for a few months.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Kathy Douthit
    Kathy Douthit
  • JanetFL
  • QueenSashy
  • mollydunkncrumble

9 Reviews

Kathy D. July 24, 2018
Red wine vinegar is listed twice :)
JanetFL July 18, 2013
I absolutely love this pesto - it's downright addictive!
mollydunkncrumble July 18, 2013
Thanks, Janet!
JanetFL July 20, 2013
Molly, I was a tester.....FondueVoodoo is way more expressive than I was in my comments and I could not agree more with his/her comments. I thought for sure that this recipe would be a is most certainly that good. And I'm not just saying that because I have more than enough tarragon to feed a small army! :) :)
mollydunkncrumble July 20, 2013
YAY, thanks so much, Janet!
QueenSashy July 18, 2013
What a wonderful flavor combo!
JanetFL July 8, 2013
HELP! Just noticed that the ingredients do not specify how much red wine vinegar to add!
mollydunkncrumble July 8, 2013
ack, sorry! 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar. Will edit asap!
JanetFL July 8, 2013
Thanks again, Molly!