Lemon Pepper Pesto


To clarify, this Lemon Pepper Pesto recipe calls for crushed red peppers (not black pepper) and lemon juice instead of parmesan cheese. There are also cashews in this one as opposed to the trademark pine nut.

I figured… what’s the harm on pushing the boundaries of pesto? I’m quite glad I did.

Lemon Pepper Pesto | TheColacinoKitchen.com

This is why I think you’ll enjoy this recipe.

It’s creamy. It’s bright. It’s spicy. It’s a luscious sauce that makes meat and vegetables taste so much better. If you also enjoy putting a creative spin on a classic, then this is certainly a recipe that matches your vibe.

Lemon-Pepper Pesto zest | TheColacinoKitchen.com

How did it go? We’d love to hear how you used your pesto.

Were you skeptical about the cashews? (Everyone seems to use walnuts — and THAT perplexes me.) How did you end up using your pesto? Pasta? Potatoes? Frittatas? Let’s swap ideas in the comments below.

Lemon Pepper Pesto by The Colacino Kitchen c 2021

Lemon Pepper Pesto

A spicy spin on the classic
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Pesto
Skill Level: Easy to Make
Recipe Type: Sauces & Spreads
Specialty Diet: Gluten Free, Keto-Friendly, Paleo, Pescatarian, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 1 batch
Calories: 856kcal


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (about one lemon's worth)
  • ¼ cup raw cashews
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 5 tbsp olive oil extra virgin


  • Put all ingredients into the food processor except for the olive oil; pulse a few times to break down the basil and nuts.
    Lemon Pepper Pesto | TheColacinoKitchen.com
  • Start to puree the ingredients while streaming in the olive oil; puree until creamy.
  • Either reserve for use in another recipe, or transfer to a dish and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.


Calories: 856kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 85g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Sodium: 600mg | Potassium: 503mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2680IU | Vitamin C: 79mg | Calcium: 136mg | Iron: 5mg
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