Raw Cashew, Basil & Cilantro Pesto

As many of my readers already know, I recently began a six-month journey in 100% raw foodism. Here I share a recipe with you that helped me break out of the smoothie and salad rut I found myself in the first days and weeks of this process. After 6 days of 100% adherence, I grew somewhat weary of feeling hungry and less than totally satisfied by the enormous salads I was making to fuel my days. As nutritionally dense as they were, they just weren’t cutting it for long term sustenance over the course of a busy day. It quickly became apparent that in order to do this for six months exclusively, and joyfully I might add, I needed to venture out, try different recipes, and really embrace this challenge full on in order to get the most out of it not only nutritionally but culinarily as well.

This is the first recipe I attempted to make, primarily because of its simplicity and time efficiency. In about 10 minutes I had a delicious, raw, fresh pesto that I could add to “noodles” made from julienned zucchini for a fresh, delicious lunch or add to raw crackers for a quick snack.

Not only is this recipe delicious, but it is nutritious too. Basil contains vitamins and minerals, especially Magnesium and Iron that help support the overall wellbeing of the body. Additionally, Basil is a good source of vitamin A, which can help support immune function and eye health. It is also a great antioxidant, scavenging for free radicals and helping to support overall immunity.

Cilantro has been shown to help relieve indigestion, protect against urinary tract infections, lower blood sugar and maintain healthy cholesterol. It is also a great source of vitamins and minerals as well as phytonutrients, compounds that help protect against disease.

Pine nuts are a good source of protein and contain pinoleic acid, a fatty acid, that has been shown to help reduce appetite. Combined together and tossed with zucchini “pasta”, this recipe is a great way to meet your nutritional needs while keeping your weight and appetite under control. Enjoy!


  • 1 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup pine nuts and cashew nuts mixed, soaked for about 10 minutes, drained and dried
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil


Place the garlic and pine nuts in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the cilantro, basil, olive oil, salt and lemon juice and process again until smooth. Adjust flavor. Toss with julienned zucchini for a great raw pasta. Can also be tossed with brown rice pasta for a healthy, dairy free, wheat free meal.