Chestnut Basil Pesto

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I have a passion for pesto. I love the combination of flavors.  The bold flavors of basil and garlic with a mild nuttiness. Ribbet collage#4  I have been wanting to make it for a while since we have lived here but I just hadn’t found the right ingredients. Traditionally it is made from pine nuts but I have never seen them here except for the Mapuche Piñónes.  IMG_7474-2re The Mapuche are the native American indians that were the predominant inhabitants of Chile until the Spanish Conquest in the 1500s which started a lot of European immigration to the country. Now there are people of many different nationalities living here. In the area I live in there are Germans, French, North Americans and many other cultures mixed with the natives.  IMG_7497-2re Anyway, these pine nuts are different from the pine nuts that are usually added to pesto and pasta dishes. They differ from pine nuts much like chestnuts differ from other nuts. They are described better here IMG_7475-2  Some recipes for pesto replace pine nuts with walnuts or other nuts and you can easily do that with this recipe. Because I am doing this series on chestnuts, I decided to do a combo of chestnuts and Piñónes. I love the result. The chestnuts give it a mild sweetness and thickness that you don’t have in most pestos.


Chestnut Basil Pesto

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: about 2 cups

Chestnut Basil Pesto


  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed and washed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup roasted chestnuts, shells removed
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts or Mapuche piñones
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup parmesan cheese


  1. Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor and pulse until combined and roughly smooth.

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