Pine nuts are traditionally used to make pesto. However, there are also local alternatives like sunflower seeds.
Genovese pesto is by far the most popular classic pesto. It is made using basil, olive oil, parmesan, pecorino and pine nuts. We have been developing pesto and varying the ingredients for some time already. We make pesto from wild garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and even black olives. When it comes to pine nuts, however, we tend to keep things traditional.
Following the trend for local ingredients, we can also use home-grown produce. For example, sunflower seeds. They make a wonderful substitute for pine nuts in pesto. Here’s a little trick: Soak the sunflower seeds for a few hours before making the pesto – this will ensure the pesto is lovely and smooth. Alternatively, use walnuts or hazelnuts instead of sunflower seeds.