Thai Basil Pesto

Thai Basil Pesto

  • Servings: 1 - 2 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


It’s #savorysauceweek on my Instagram page @whatscookingat_rays and my second post is Thai basil pesto, using organic Thai basil from Worden Farm, an organic farm in nearby Punta Gorda, Florida (@wordenfarm on Instagram; follow them).



  • 3-4 cups fresh Thai basil leaves washed, blanched, chopped
    • Yields approximately 1 cup of blanched, pressed (to remove excess water), and chopped basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup toasted peanuts nuts
  • 1 Kaffir lime leaf minced
  • 1 Tbsp minced lemongrass
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup rau ram leaves (a.k.a. Vietnamese cilantro)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup peanut oil
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • Red pepper flakes to taste (optional)



  • Separate the basil leaves from the stems; discard wilted or damaged leaves and stems, wash thoroughly under cold running water; drain and set aside.
    • If using raw leaves chop crosswise; set aside
  • Mince kaffir lime leaf and lemongrass; set aside
  • Remove cilantro leaves and rau ram leaves from stems; set aside
  • Toast pine nuts if not already toasted; set aside


  • The only time “cooking” is involved is if you choose to “blanch” the basil leaves prior to making the pesto.  Blanching will help preserve the bright green color of fresh basil and will help make for a smoother pesto, but and it’s a big but, the pesto will taste less “basily” than a pesto made with unblanched leaves.
    • If using blanched leaves:
      • Fill medium size saucepot halfway with water
      • Add just enough salt to make the water taste like sea water and no more
      • Bring to boil
      • Add basil leaves to the boiling water; cook for 30 seconds then remove the now “blanched” leaves and place them in an ice bath (this stops the cooking very quickly)
      • Once cooled remove the leaves from the ice water bath, form into a ball and squeeze until most of the liquid in the leaves has been removed.
      • Chop and set aside
  • When ready to make the pesto place the chopped Thai basil leaves, peanuts, minced herbs, cilantro and rau ram leaves, peanut oil, fish sauce and red pepper flakes into a high-speed blender or food processor.
  • Process/puree to desired consistency
  • Taste and adjust as desired:
    • Add more peanut oil if too thick
    • Add red pepper flakes incrementally if you want a little heat in the pesto
    • Add more fish sauce or kosher salt if not seasoned enough


Thai Basil Pesto


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Thai basil is quite different, so intrigued to know what this is like (: Nice work.


    1. Thanks for your comment and apologies for my delayed response. This is my first blog and still getting used to the WordPress application.

      To say that Thai basil pesto is flavorful is an understatement. There are so many layers of flavor that all come through. It’s complex and very delicious.

      Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

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