Sicilian almond and tomato pesto

by Felicity Cloake

A light, summery pesto with a nod to Sicily’s Arab heritage

Already lighter and more summery than traditional Genovese pesto, thanks to the addition of tomatoes and almonds, in a further nod to Sicily’s Arab heritage, I’ve used mint rather than basil, and left out the cheese, although I do like to grate a little pecorino over the top before serving. (Okay, quite a lot.)


120g blanched almonds
400g sweet cherry tomatoes
2 small cloves of garlic, crushed
A handful of mint, leaves only
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


Heat the grill to maximum. Toast the almonds on a greased baking tray for a couple of minutes until just beginning to colour, being careful they don’t burn. Spread out on a cold surface to cool, and meanwhile, put the tomatoes on the baking tray and grill until beginning to char.

Once the almonds are cool, very roughly chop and put into a food processor with the crushed garlic. Whizz until most are fairly finely chopped, with a few larger shards, then add the tomatoes and mint and pulse until just combined. Pour in the oil and whizz again, then season to taste and use as you would ordinary green pesto.

Recipe from Felicity Cloake’s The A-Z of Eating: a Flavour Map for Adventurous Cooks (Fig Tree, £25)
Image: Helen Cathcart