There aren’t a lot of appetizers easier than this GORGEOUS, vibrant basil pesto bread dipping oil. This crowd-pleasing party snack is PERFECT for last-minute entertaining. It’s as easy as mixing pesto, olive oil and a handful of other ingredients. Serve with fresh, fluffy focaccia.
There’s just something about bread dipping oil. It’s one of those BRILLIANT examples of something you can’t quite believe is so good, given how easy it is to throw together. And ‘throw together’ this recipe is! All you need to do is mix your ingredients and that’s it, you’re done. 10 minutes, maximum.
This twist on my favourite speedy appetizer is essentially a saucier version of pesto – using lovely fresh pesto as the base – then bulking it out with the ingredients that are in pesto (basil, garlic, lemon, parmesan and cashews (or pine nuts).
Not only is it wonderful as a dipping oil, it’s PERFECT for tossing through pasta salads and roasted vegetables, drizzling over grilled chicken or pizza, or as a topper for whipped feta or creamy hummus.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Genuinely quick and easy. Just grab some pesto, then mix with olive oil and a handful of other easy-to-find ingredients.
- A party food crowd-pleaser. This is seriously always the first to disappear at parties!
- Fresh, vibrant and versatile. Play around with the ingredients based on what you have – use another herb (flat-leaf parsley, mint, oregano or thyme are great choices), swap cashews for almonds, pistachios or pumpkin seeds, swap parmesan for feta (or leave it out for a vegan version). Swap basil pesto with wild garlic pesto or sundried tomato pesto.
- Olive oil. Good quality, extra virgin olive oil is best here.
- Basil pesto. Because this is the primary flavour in the oil, I recommend using good quality, fresh basil pesto if possible. Shalf-stable jarred pesto will do, but it won’t be quite as fresh and vibrant.
- Cashews. Use pine nuts if you like – they’re traditional in pesto but can be expensive. Cashews, hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios or pumpkin (pepita) seeds are great alternatives, just make sure you toast them first if possible, for the best flavour.
- Parmesan. I prefer the texture of parmesan when it’s freshly grated from a block – rather than using the pre-grated stuff – but you can use either here.
- Lemon. Ideally use a fresh lemon, because you’ll need the zest too. If you don’t have one, just use bottled lemon juice.
How to make it
It truly is as easy as adding all your ingredients to a bowl and mixing them together.
To keep things super simple, I like to mix the oil in the bowl – or larger lipped plate – I’m going to serve it in. Anything to save a bit of washing up is a good idea in my book.
Got a question?
It will keep well for 5 days, stored in the fridge in an airtight container. To help the bright green colour from fading, I like to press a piece of clingfilm directly on top of the oil (before putting the lid on).
The olive oil may harden a little in the fridge, but it’ll go back to normal after sitting at room temperature for a few minutes.
While it’s LOVELY as a bread dipping oil, it’s very versatile. Use it in the same way you would regular pesto – toss through pasta or pasta salad, make these lovely pesto potatoes, drizzle it over grilled chicken, hummus, whipped feta or pizza, or spoon on top of tomatoes on toast.
Use the traditional pine nuts, or almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios or pumpkin (pepita seeds) for a nut-free version.
Watch how to make it
Like this recipe? Here are three more dipping oil variations you might enjoy too
If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you! You can leave me a comment below.Print