Asparagus pesto is a light and fresh pesto sauce that is just perfect for the spring. It’s so easy to make and you can use it the same way that you would use traditional basil pesto.
Pesto is a delicious sauce typically made with basil, oil, garlic, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts. I like to keep it interesting and add different ingredients to pesto sauce, and I recently discovered just how tasty asparagus pesto sauce with sunflower seeds is.
Why This Recipe Works
- Asparagus Pesto is quick, easy, and healthy!
- It is a great way to use up leftover cooked asparagus.
Here is What You Will Need To Make This Recipe
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This is an overview of the ingredients and steps to make this recipe, scroll down to see ingredient notes and substitutions as well as a printable recipe card with exact measurements and complete cooking instructions.
- Sunflower seeds
- Olive oil
- Lemon and grated parmesan cheese for garnish.
Here Is How to Make Fresh Asparagus Pesto
Step 1. Arrange the asparagus on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush it with olive oil.
Note: Skip this step if you are using leftover cooked asparagus.
Step 2. Roast the asparagus in the oven until it’s fork-tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Step 3. Once the asparagus is cool enough to handle, chop it into chunks about 1 inch in size and place it in the food processor with the sunflower seeds and garlic.
Step 4. Process the mixture into small pieces.
Step 5. Add the basil, and process once again while adding the oil through the feeding tube.
Tip! Adding the pesto at end of the cycle will prevent to basil from becoming bruised and brown.
Step 6. The pesto will be slightly thick, if you prefer thin pesto adjust the sauce to your preference by adding more oil or water.
Pesto Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
Asparagus. I like to use roasted asparagus in this recipe, but you can use asparagus that is cooked any way that you like; steamed, blanched, or grilled.
Basil. Fresh basil adds so much flavor to pesto sauce, but doesn’t take over the earthy flavors of the asparagus. If you don’t like to use basil, it can be left out.
Sunflower Seeds. Pesto is usually made with pine nuts which have become very expensive. You can use them in this recipe in place of sunflower seeds and you can also use walnuts.
There are so many ways to enjoy asparagus pesto. Serve it over pasta, rice, zucchini noodles, drizzle it over freshly sliced tomatoes, brush it on grilled meat, spread it on a sandwich, or a pizza crust or flatbread with sliced tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese.
Storing and Using Leftovers
Store leftover asparagus pesto covered in an airtight container the refrigerator for up to three days.
Freeze it for up to six months in a freezer container or place it into an ice cube tray for individual-sized portions. Once the pesto is frozen solid remove it from the ice cube tray and store it in a bag.
Change up the seeds and use an equal amount of chopped walnuts, almonds, or cashews.
Add ¼ cup of sun-dried tomatoes to the food processor with the asparagus.
Asparagus Pesto Sauce Questions Answered
Here are the most commonly asked questions about this recipe. If your question isn’t answered below, leave me a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
Pesto sauce can become thick when it is stored in the refrigerator, just before serving gradually stir in a of olive oil or water until the sauce reaches a consistency that you like. If you are making pasta with your pesto, the pasta water works well for this.
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- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a reusable Silpat baking mat.
- Arrange the asparagus on the baking sheet in a single layer and brush it with olive oil.
- Place the asparagus in the oven and roast for 15 to 20 minutes until it becomes tender.
- Remove the asparagus from the oven. When it's cool enough to handle, cut it into chunks and place it into a food processor with the oil, sunflower seeds.
- Process the mixture until it becomes a thick paste.
- Add the basil leaves, process again and add the oil through the processor feed tube.
- Adjust the consistency with water or additional olive oil.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: ⅛ cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 154Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 655mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 3g