This macadamia nut pesto is low histamine and dairy-free, making it a great basic low histamine sauce to use year-round. Did I mention it keeps in the freezer for up to two years? That's one way to stretch your summer harvest of basil! Just see the notes for non-low FODMAP subs, if tolerated, and best nuts or seeds to sub if you can't have macadamias.
About this recipe
Simple Low Histamine Sauce. This is a great sauce to eat with white meat, simple pizzas, and gluten-free pasta (I like this chickpea pasta). A traditional pesto recipe uses pine nuts and Parmesan cheese, and while you could use pine nuts instead of pecans, I personally think pine nuts taste gross. The Parmesan is also probably a no-no for everyone, though, unless you're a unicorn and have a very empty histamine bucket.
Cooking With the Pesto. Don't stir-fry this macadamia pesto for more than 15 minutes, otherwise you're really cooking out the freshness of the basil (even if you're using it after keeping it in the freezer for while). I also wouldn't bake it for more than ~20 minutes, either, but conduct your own experiments.
Freezes Great: Have I mentioned that this pesto freezes like a dream? The blending process sort of infuses the basil flavor into the oil, so every bite really comes out tasty and flavorful, no matter what time of year you enjoy it.
Basil: this herb has actively histamine-lowering properties, and as long as you don't react to it, it's delicious & easy to pair with a variety of other flavors.
Spring Onions: similar to the macadamia nuts and the garlic in a traditional pesto, using freshly-chopped spring onions adds an umami element to the sauce that really complements meats and root vegetables.
Macadamias: these high-fat nuts add volume & a light buttery taste to the pesto without adding a strong flavor.
Garlic Olive Oil: since garlic is high FODMAP, using garlic-infused olive oil is a good workaround to still get some of the umami garlicky flavor normally present it pesto. It works great in conjunction with the green onions to make up for the lack of garlic. Alternatively, if garlic is tolerated then you can use regular olive oil with 2 cloves of garlic in place of the green onions.
How to make pecan pesto: step-by-step instructions
Step 1. Wash and dry your basil, then pluck only the leaves off into your cup, and add them directly to the bowl of your food processor.
Step 2. Measure all the other 'dry' ingredients— chopped spring onions, macadamias, and salt— and add them to the food processor. Before adding any oil, pulse everything together 4 or 5 times, in 1- to 2-second spurts, to break up the leaves and begin grinding the macadamias.
Step 3. Add the garlic olive oil and blend everything together for about 10 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl, and then blending for another 10-15 seconds until well-combined.
Step 4. The bright green sauce should be mildly garlicky and all ready to use, though if it tastes too mild it probably just needs more salt for your palate (I swear iodized salt tastes like half as salty to me). Assuming you're not using all of this pesto at once, this is where you'll need parchment paper.
Pull off a piece that's about 10 inches long, wide enough for 6 pesto patties, and lay it onto a flat surface. Scrape the pesto from the bowl of your food processor into 6 even patties onto the bottom third of the sheet, and then fold the top on the patties and press lightly. Transfer these directly into the freezer for at least an hour.
Pro-Tip: Place your pesto trays on a flat surface in the freezer with a lightweight flat object on top of them. This will keep the parchment paper sticking to either side, allowing for easy storage. Alternately, keep the whole batch in an air-tight jar in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Step 5. After an hour or two, take the patties out of the open freezer and make sure they're solidly frozen. If you have the space, you can let them freeze overnight & that's that, but if time is of the essence, then give them another hour before you check again; it shouldn't take more than a few hours for them to harden up. Peel apart the paper and stack the patties in a freezer-safe container for storage. From a lifetime of experience, they'll stay good for several years in the freezer, though they'll brown quite a bit after the first month.
Recipe notes & tips
Types of Basil: Thai basil or holy basil won't work in this recipe, so make sure you're buying or growing "normal" basil, also called Italian, Genovese, or Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum).
Substituting Nuts: if you're not low fodmap, there are a ton of other low histamine nuts & seeds you could use in place of macadamias. I recommend checking out my pecan pesto or sunflower seed pesto, if you'd prefer either of those, otherwise pistachios or pumpkin seeds are also good options.
Making it "Saucier:" When I was a kid, my Mom would reconstitute "freezer pesto" with some skim milk, but if you want a runnier sauce, I recommend thinning it out with a touch of olive oil or coconut milk (though almost any plain-tasting fat would work).
What to do with macadamia nut pesto
- as a salad dressing when thinned-out
- stir it into your next omelet
- add it to hot mashed potatoes
- on lamb burgers with a gluten-free bun
- layer it between pieces of baked fish and cook it in a cast iron skillet
- slather it on your favorite cut of fried chicken
- tossed with root vegetables
- mix it with tolerated cheese and spread it onto your gluten-free cracker of choice
When to Make Pesto: I highly recommend making this at the end of the summer, when you can get lots of fresh organic basil from the local market for cheap. You can buy fresh sweet basil year round, but it gets incredibly more expensive as weather gets colder. Just remember to always buy organically-grown basil.
Low FODMAP Pesto FAQ
Macadamia basil pesto can last for up to one week in the fridge or up to two years if properly stored in the freezer.
Yes, you can make pesto with macadamias instead of pine nuts, but it will taste a bit different, though equally as savory.
At the moment I haven't heard of any commercial pesto sauces made with macadamias instead of pine nuts.
Yes, you can freeze basil pesto in patties or in ice cube trays, and then stack them inside air-tight freezer containers for up to 2 years.
Homemade Low FODMAP Pesto with Macadamia Recipe Card
As always, if you like the recipe, I really appreciate a review or comment!
Low FODMAP Macadamia Pesto
- 1 Cup fresh basil leaves lightly packed
- 3 Tablespoons garlic-flavored olive oil alt. regular olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon chopped green onion alt. 2 small cloves garlic
- ¼ cup macadamias
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- Wash and dry your basil, then pluck only the leaves off into your cup, and add them directly to the bowl of your food processor.
- Measure all the other 'dry' ingredients— chopped spring onions, macadamias, and salt— and add them to the food processor. Before adding any oil, pulse everything together 4 or 5 times, in 1- to 2-second spurts, to break up the leaves and begin grinding the macadamias.
- Add the garlic olive oil and blend everything together for about 10 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl, and then blending for another 10-15 seconds until well-combined.
- The bright green sauce should be mildly garlicky and all ready to use, though if it tastes too mild it probably just needs more salt for your palate (I swear iodized salt tastes like half as salty to me).