Thai Basil Pesto with Cashews

Thai Basil Pesto with Cashews

Quick, easy and served with saucy Coconut Noodles and Crispy White Pepper Chicken.

You can make this zippy, tangy, herby, flavourful Thai Basil Pesto with Cashews in about 10 minutes. Then, you can pour it into a jar and eat it on whatever you like… OR… if you have another 20 minutes in your back pocket you can whip up my creamy 4-ingredient coconut milk saucy noodles and my crispy white pepper chicken and have one of the best meals — EVER.

I can only take the horse to water friends, but come on horses!! Drink!

Thai Basil Pesto with Cashews

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I make this Thai Basil Pesto in my blender because when I invested in my high-powered blender I did so because I convinced my wonderful husband that it would be life-changing. That I would use it every single day. Heck, multiple times a day even. That I would make everything from smoothies, to whipped cream, to sauces, soups, and yes, pestos in it. I did this because Gwyneth told me it would change my life. I believed her, of course, and thus, felt that I must share this life altering revelation and purchase of the greatest appliance ever with my husband. So I could make our lives better. You understand.

So now, several years later, said blender is still a workhouse and I pull it out at least – at least – two or three times a month. Life-changing.

You can also use a food processor. Side note: I am currently in the market for a new food processor, so if you know of a life-changing machine, please let me know. And then I might have you call my husband.

Thai Basil Pesto with Cashews

thai basil pesto with cashews, the details…

Making this pesto is insanely easy and requires little more than dumping everything into the blender and whizzing it up until it’s all combined and mixed. I like to leave it with a little texture, but you can make it however you like.

The pesto is simply Thai basil leaves, garlic, cashews, lime zest, lime juice, red pepper flakes, sugar and salt. You’ll slowly mix these until all is finely chopped and then you’ll drizzle in some oil and mix until the whole works is evenly combined and perfect.

You can stop there, pour it into a jar and save it in the fridge for whenever you’re ready to use it, or you can follow my serving suggestion in this recipe and serve the pesto with delicious, saucy coconut milk rice noodles and crispy, white pepper chicken.

To make the chicken, all you have to do is toss the chicken with soy sauce and then sprinkle it with some cornstarch and white pepper. A quick pan fry in a slick of oil and it’s done.

The noodles are just your favourite shape of rice noodles cooked and tossed with a quick butter, garlic, coconut milk sauce.

All of the above gets combined together and devoured. We like to eat it with lots of extra pesto and fresh lime juice. It’s insanely good.

Thai Basil Pesto with Cashews

Thai Basil Pesto Recipe ingredients, tips, substitutions:

Basil – Obviously this Thai Basil Pesto uses Thai Basil leaves. But, if you can’t find that you can use regular Italian sweet basil and it’s still excellent. I’ve even added a little mint in when I didn’t have quite enough basil and it was still delish.

Sugar – a tiny bit of sugar offsets some of the acid and really enhances this pesto.

Lime – fresh lime zest and juice are what really make this pesto sing, but in a pinch you can sub in lemon.

Red Pepper Flakes– if you don’t want any heat you can omit this.

Chicken – I like the flavour and texture of chicken thighs, but you can use breasts too. You could also sub in tofu to make this a vegetarian/vegan dish.

Coconut Milk – use full fat canned coconut milk.

Thai Basil Pesto with Cashews

hey! How about a dinner party planned around this thai basil pesto with cashews??

Thai Basil Pesto with Cashews
Thai Basil Pesto with Cashews

Thai Basil Pesto with Cashews

Super easy Thai Basil Pesto served on Creamy Coconut Rice Noodles with Crispy White Pepper Chicken. The Pesto is made in the blender in under 10 minutes and keeps well in the fridge.
4.50 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6


For the Pesto:

  • 2 cups thai basil leaves loosely packed
  • 1-2 garlic cloves sliced or roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • Zest of one lime
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil or other neutral oil

For the Noodles:

  • 1 lb rice noodles cooked according to package directions*
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk

For the Chicken:

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 3/4 tsp white pepper


Make the Thai Basil Pesto:

  • Add the Thai basil, garlic, cashews, lime zest, lime juice, red pepper flakes, sugar and salt to a blender and blend on low speed until finely chopped.
  • On low speed, drizzle in the avocado oil and blend until well combined but not completely smooth (unless you want it smooth**). Set aside.

Make the Chicken:

  • Toss chicken with the soy sauce.
  • Combine the cornstarch and the white pepper and sprinkle over the chicken, toss well.
  • Drizzle a thin layer of oil in a heavy skillet. Pan fry the chicken in oil until browned and cooked through. Remove and set aside.

Make the Noodles:

  • Melt the butter in a large skillet and when it’s hot add in the garlic and cook for about 1-2 minutes.
  • Pour in the coconut milk, a good pinch of salt and the noodles & 1 Tbsp of the pesto and stir well. Cook until heated through and well combined.


  • Pile the noodles into your serving bowl and top with the chicken and several good scoops of pesto.
  • Serve with extra pesto, fresh basil, limes, chopped roasted cashews.


*thick, thin or vermicelli rice noodles all work
**you can keep some texture in the pesto or blend it until it’s completely smooth, according to your preference. I prefer a little texture.
Keyword Thai Basil Pesto with Cashews
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Let me know what you think below and if you like this Thai Basil Pesto Recipe with Cashews I know you’ll also love my Pesto Toast with Creamy Cannelini Beans and Crispy Potatoes. Because pesto, in all it’s forms, is always a good choice.


  1. 4 stars
    Delicious! I made two changes. I cooked the chicken in my air fryer instead of pan frying and I used spaghetti squash instead of the rice noodles. The squash noodles in the coconut milk mixture were so good! My husband slurped his up and asked for more!

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