Traditional Italian pesto is one of the most popular ways to top off a pot of pasta — it’s just so easy to make the delicious mixture of garlic, basil, and pine nuts. That said, it can also be fun to add a few twists to the timeless sauce, especially if you’re someone who’s ever suffered from “pine mouth.” According to a study published in the Clinical and Translational Allergy journal, nearly 200 consumers of pine nuts between 2008 and 2010 reported a prolonged “taste disturbance” after eating the nuts — a bitter, metallic flavor lingered in their mouth regardless of what other type of food they ate for a range of five to 10 days.
Trisha Yearwood may be among those who’ve experienced that unfortunate side effect. The country superstar described herself as “not a pine nut girl” while chatting with chef Chloe Coscarelli in 2016 on Food Network. The pair whipped up Yearwood’s recipe for an avocado-based pesto from her cookbook, Trish’s Table: My Feel-Good Favorites for a Balanced Life ($13.49 on Amazon). The book is full of healthy takes on recipes from the Georgia native’s own home. Her husband, Garth Brooks, praised Yearwood’s innovative substitutions in the book’s foreword, writing, “Trisha has found ways to replace ingredients that create a more unhealthy experience with ingredients that, I believe, actually fight and repair the damage caused by my own poor choices — and I have yet to sacrifice taste!”
An avocado base is an undeniably healthy addition to this pesto recipe. Studies continue to uncover benefits from the popular superfood, like lowering levels of “bad” cholesterol and high amounts of heart-healthy fatty acid. Plus, instead of pine nuts, Yearwood avoids the potential bitter aftertaste by adding half a cup of walnuts to her mixture of two peeled and pitted avocados, one and a half tablespoons of lemon juice, four cloves of garlic, one fourth cup of olive oil, and of course, one large bunch of basil.
The lemon juice will help keep the nutrient-rich avocado pulp from turning brown while waiting on your favorite pasta to boil. Yearwood’s cookbook recommends using angel hair pasta and adding chicken breast for protein, but the possibilities are really endless for how you and your family can enjoy this scrumptious pesto! You can also stop pulsing the sauce while it’s still chunky and spread it over bread for some yummy avocado toast, like Yearwood and Coscarelli did with their mixture.