Pestacado: A Twist on Pesto

In July I posted a recipe called pestard, which was a simple variation on pesto. I merely deleted the parmesan cheese, since I don’t like parmesan, and added some zesty mustard for a simple pesto variation. Here is the link to that recipe on my website:

Then I decided to try a more creative way to make pesto using avocado since it is a good source of fat and a food that I love. Instead of using olive oil, I substituted 1/2 of a ripe avocado and came up with pestacado. Avocados are a source of good fats as well as these nutrients:


Utensils: Food processor or blender, cutting board & knife
Prep. Time: 10 min.
Cook. Time: None!
Categories: GF, NSA, Vegan


1/2 ripe avocado, washed, cut in half and 1/2 flesh scooped into blender
1/2 cup water or stock
1-2 minced garlic
salt to taste
dash of cayenne pepper
basil leaves (wash basil and remove large stems & use for stock)
oregano (optional)


1. Place about 1/2 cup water or stock in blender. Add scooped avocado and seasonings and just blend for a few seconds.
2. Add basil and blend until smooth, adding more liquid if needed. Taste and add more spices if needed.

Yield is less than one cup. If you like it, then feel free to use the whole avocado and more basil leaves and spices.
Note: For a pourable pestacado, add more liquid. For a thicker pestacado, do not add more liquid. Also, if you like the idea of  pesto with mustard , which is the recipe link above for pestard, feel free to add a dollop of mustard to the blender.

Pestacado over Radicchio Slaw

Using pestacado on a salad is just one way to enjoy this twist on pesto. Feel free to use on pasta, whole grains, or in its thicker form, as a dip.  To make the slaw, I merely grated in a  mini-food processor the following ingredients:

radicchio, carrot, leek (white part), daikon radish, yellow bell pepper. I added black sesame seeds as a garnish after putting on the pestacado.

You can either drizzle some pestacado over the slaw or mix it in as you would mayonnaise. This is a hearty winter salad. Enjoy!

Utensils: Food processor or blender
Prep. Time: 10 minutes
Cook. Time: None!
Categories: GF, SF, Vegan

Note: These amounts are approximate, since the amount of basil you have & the size of your avocado may vary.


1/2 ripe avocado, rinsed, cut in half and scooped into the blender or food processor
3-4 cups of fresh basil, large stems removed (Save for soup stock)
1/4 c. water or stock
1-2 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
salt to taste
Dash of lemon juice (optional)


1. Place about 1/4 cup water or stock in the bottom of the blender. Add scooped out avocado,  garlic cloves and salt to taste. Blend until somewhat smooth.
2. Add basil leaves and blend again until very smooth. If too thick, add a little liquid at a time until you have the consistency you want.

For a pourable dressing, you will need to add more liquid; for a dip like consistency, less liquid is better. For a  more tart taste, add lemon juice instead of water or stock.

Variation: As I did in my recipe for Pestard (See link above), feel free to add some mustard for zest….or even a dash of cayenne pepper

Note: This makes only a small amount, maybe one cup, but since you are making this for the first time, start with this. If you like it, then feel free to use the whole avocado and more basil.
(My older daughter was visiting when I made this and did not like the idea of basil and avocado, but she did taste it and then said she liked it. And my younger daughter found a similar recipe called Pestocado on the ‘Net, but it used oil, which I do not use. All ingredients are whole foods, no extractions.)

2 thoughts on “Pestacado: A Twist on Pesto

  1. thanks for a great recipe, I will pass it on to my daughter, who has always made “pesto,”
    but this is a wonderful and nutritious variation.

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