Learn how to make pesto aioli at home using simple ingredients. Ready in minutes, it’s loaded with flavors and can be used as a spread or sauce!
Forget the store-bought pesto aioli because now you can make it on your own!
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What is pesto aioli?
This is a simple condiment, dip, or topping that is made by combining mayonnaise and basil pesto, which is a traditional Italian dip or sauce. These two combine to form a thick dip that has both herbal and tangy flavors due to basil leaves, pine nuts, and other ingredients.
Sure, you can buy it at the grocery store but we’ve been making our own because it’s
- Quick and easy. In just 15 minutes, your pesto aioli will be ready to enjoy.
- Full of flavors. All the ingredients add deep flavors to the pesto aioli making it more flavorful.
- Versatile. Use it as a dip, condiment, or spread; the choice is all yours!
What I love about this recipe is just how fast it is to make! You’ll never buy the pre-made or bottled versions ever again!
As this is a plant-based recipe, we choose to make the mayonnaise from scratch (or you can make our homemade sour cream). If you can tolerate dairy, skip that part and just use your favorite mayonnaise. Here is what you’ll need:
For the pesto
- Basil leaves. Fresh or frozen basil leaves.
- Garlic. Minced.
- Pine nuts. Use toasted nuts.
- Miso paste. Easy to find at mainstream grocery stores in the Asian food section.
- Nutritional yeast. A plant-based alternative to parmesan cheese. If you can tolerate dairy, finely shredded parmesan cheese is fine.
- Salt. To taste.
- Extra virgin olive oil. You can also use regular olive oil.
For vegan mayonnaise
- Aquafaba. It is the water that is present in canned chickpeas/garbanzo beans.
- Salt. To taste.
- Sugar. Just a pinch to balance out the salty flavors.
- Lemon juice. A necessary acidic element.
- Dijon mustard. Full-bodied and flavorful mustard.
- Vegetable oil. Or any neutral oil of choice.
How to make pesto aioli?
This recipe comes together in no time, thanks to the blender! Ready to whip some up?
Step 1: Prepare pesto
Boil water in a pot. Meanwhile, add icy cold water to a large bowl. In the boiling water, blanch basil leaves for 5 seconds, not longer than this. Now, remove them from the boiling water and dip them in the ice cold water. Remove basil leaves from the water and dry them using a paper towel or a towel.
Now, add the basil leaves along with pine nuts, miso, nutritional yeast, garlic, and salt to the food processor and process until blended. Then, set pesto aside.
Step 2: Prepare vegan mayonnaise
Take the blending container that comes with a stick blender. Mix all the ingredients, except oil, in the blender. Once mixed, add oil over the mixed ingredients. Turn on the stick blender to thicken the mixture at the bottom of the blender. Vegan mayonnaise will form quickly, but keep blending to ensure everything is emulsified.
Step 3: Combine the two
Mix basil pesto with vegan mayonnaise and blend well until a smooth green paste forms. You can also mix these two without a blender using your hands.
Ways to use this aioli
This recipe is so versatile and can be used in a plethora of ways. Here are some ideas:
- Use it as a dip for your french fries or roasted vegetables.
- Add more flavor to your burger by using it as a burger sauce.
- It tastes great when added to sandwiches as a spread.
- Use it as a topping for your steak, chicken, or even some tofu.
To store. Put in the airtight container to store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
To freeze. Place the pesto aioli in a shallow container and store it in the freezer for up to two months.
Frequently asked questions
Olive oil must be added to a paste to make it aioli, but this is not compulsory to make a sauce.
Yes, aioli is healthy as it contains ingredients that provide many health benefits.
Yes, you can substitute aioli for mayonnaise, as they both have a pretty similar flavor.
Pesto Aioli (No Dairy!)
- 1 bunch Basil leaves picked (Around 45g/3.5oz)
- 1 1/2 cloves Garlic minced
- 3 tablespoons Pine Nuts toasted
- 1/4 teaspoon Miso Paste
- 1 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup Aquafaba chilled
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Lemon Juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard do not omit, it’s essential for the emulsification
- 3/4 cup vegetable Oil
- Bring a pot of water to the boil. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with icy cold water (add some ice cubes in there too!).
- When your water has come to a boil, blanche Basil leaves for 5 seconds (no longer), and then immediately remove Basil leaves and plunge into your prepared iced water.
- Remove basil from iced water and pat dry with a towel or paper towel.
- In a food processor, combine Basil, Garlic, Pine Nuts, Miso, Nutritional Yeast and Salt. Process until blended. Set Pesto aside.
- In the blending container that comes with your stick blender, combine all ingredients, except the oil. Mix well and then gently pour oil over your mixed ingredients.
- Place your stick/immersion blender into the very very bottom of your blending container and keep it there. Turn your stick blender on to its highest setting, and almost instantly you will start to see the mixture at the bottom thicken.
- Now, slowly pull the blender up and through the Vegetable Oil until you reach the surface. Your Vegan Mayonnaise will form relatively quickly. Once formed, continue blending for a few seconds to make sure that everything has emulsified.