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I took my traditional pesto recipe that uses pine nuts and parmesan cheese and with a couple substitutions made this delicious Macadamia Gouda Pesto.

a bowl of macadamia gouda pesto

This recipe started with a happy little basil plant that was purchased on my weekly trip to Trader Joe’s. This vibrant green plant wanted nothing more than to be stripped of its leaves and gobbled up, but alas, this busy mom of two had not done any proper recipe planning for the week and bought the plant out of impulse. Then, the hungry mom had the idea of making pesto because there really is no better use for fresh basil than homemade pesto, but much to her dismay, her kitchen was lacking both pine nuts and parmesan. What was she to do?  Then, in a moment of pure genius when her stomach took control of her brain, she remembered she had macadamia nuts left over from their last vacation to Hawaii as well as a gorgeous hard aged gouda wrapped tightly in the refrigerator. That, my friends, was the moment this mom and lover of food discovered that traditional pesto was no longer her favorite. Macadamia gouda pesto had taken over. The end.

ingredients for macadamia Gouda pesto in a blender

Did you like my story? I know you thought it was a work of fiction, but I promise it was 100% accurate. The lesson I hope you took away from my tale is that you should always be willing to make substitutions based on what you already have on hand and one should always always have a fresh basil plant on hand.

blended macadamia gouda pesto

I kid  you not. This version of pesto was so good I had to physically stop myself from just eating it. Plain. As in making myself a bowl of pesto for lunch. After I transferred is from bowl to container, I licked it clean. I have no shame in admitting that, and I’m rather sad now that its all gone. Plan on making this sometime this week. You will thank me later.

a close up of macadamia gouda pesto

Macadamia Gouda Pesto

Prep10 minutes
Total10 minutes
Servings 16 servings
I took my traditional pesto recipe that uses pine nuts and parmesan cheese and with a couple substitutions made this delicious Macadamia Gouda Pesto.


  • 3 cups basil packed
  • 1/2 cup parsley packed
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1 cup aged gouda grated
  • 4 small garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil


  • To toast macadamia nuts, heat in small saute pan over medium heat, shaking pan regularly until nuts are golden in color and have an aromatic nutty smell. Take care not to burn. Remove from pan and cool completely.
  • Place basil, parsley, toasted macadamia nuts, grated gouda, and minced garlic in food processor and pulse to combine.
  • Turn processor on and slowly pour in olive oil and continue mixing until well combined. If needed, scrape sides and mix further.
  • Serve immediately.
  • Store in refrigerator in air tight container with thin layer of olive oil poured over the surface to keep the pesto's vibrant green color. Will last up to one week. Yields approximately 2 cups.


recipe makes 2 cups


Calories: 137kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 14mg, Sodium: 103mg, Potassium: 57mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 465IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 102mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you make this? Leave me a comment below
I took my traditional pesto recipe that uses pine nuts and parmesan cheese and with a couple substitutions made this delicious Macadamia Gouda Pesto.

Hi! I’m Krissy.

I love to create the BEST versions of your favorite recipes. If you love to cook, love to eat, or just have a deep appreciation for good food, you’re in the right place! Stick around… I have hundreds of recipes for you to make.

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  1. 5 stars
    What a unique pesto recipe! I absolutely love all of these ingredients. I’m planning to grow basil this year so definitely pinning this one to make soon!

  2. 5 stars
    Pesto is one of my favorites sauces but adding the macadamia nuts and gouda to it takes it to a whole new level!

  3. 5 stars
    I never get tired of pesto recipes. I use them with sandwiches, pasta, in salads… you name it! Fantastic recipe by the way! 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    It would be great if you did a series of various types of pesto – they all are are absolutely delicious!