We recently had some friends over and I threw together this Crostini with Pecan Basil Pesto. It was the easiest, tastiest appetizer I’ve ever made. You’ve gotta try it!
Quiz: Who’s the most boring person at a party? Usually the person throwing it! That’s only because they’ve spent hours running here and there, cleaning, cooking, you name it! That means by the time the party’s just starting…the host is completely wiped out!
Flopped out and delusional on the couch is no way to start a party!
So I decided in order make this gathering fun for everyone (including me) I was going to keep the menu simple.
Simple does not have to mean boring, so I knew I wanted to serve a plate or two of crostinis. Toasted bread with pesto and fresh sliced tomatoes drizzled with olive oil. Does that make your mouth water just thinking about it?
I thought I had everything I needed on hand too.
Basil Plant? Check!
Cherry Tomatoes? Check!
Vegan Parmesan? Check!
Pine Nuts? Check!
Um, wait a minute. Did I say Pine Nuts? Doh!!
That’s when I decided to improvise. Because I was NOT going to run to the store for an expensive bag of pine nuts and risk throwing my whole pre-party calm state of mind out of whack! That’s when I opened the counter and saw that big ol’ bag of pecans.
Thank you, Costco!
I toasted those pecans and threw the pesto together – which tasted incredible…pine nuts or not. I could take a bath in that stuff!
OK. I decided my pre-party routine should not include a bath in garlicky food. Otherwise, I might be back on that couch all by myself!
I sliced the baguette and made the Pesto and the Fresh Tomato Salsa ahead of time. Then when the guests started to arrive, I popped the baguette slices in the toaster oven. I didn’t mind if the bread slices sat in the toaster oven for awhile as I greeted the guests because I wanted them good and toasty.
Once I said my hellos, I slipped back to the kitchen, removed the toast from the oven, topped each of them with some pesto, and then added the fresh tomato salsa as an accent. I placed the crostini on a pretty, white plate and sat it on the counter.
Everyone ooh’d and aww’d as they walked in the kitchen. It was like music to my ears.
Add some music to your life and try this recipe. And if you do, take a photo and share it with me on Instagram, using #NamelyMarly — I’d love to see it!
- 1/3 cup pecans
- 1 cup fresh spinach, washed and dried
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons vegan parmesan
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 4-5 fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
- 24 baguette slices (cut approximately ½" thick)
- Topping: Fresh Tomato Salsa: chopped tomatoes and red or yellow sweet peppers drizzled with oil and cracked pepper
- Heat your oven (or toaster oven) to 350F with the rack in the middle.
- Place the pecans on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 5 minutes. Remove to cool.
- Place the cooled pecans, spinach, olive oil, vegan parmesan, garlic powder and basil leaves in a food processor. Pulse for a second or two to combine. Note: You can use fresh garlic in this recipe if you like, but don't add too much because it can easily overwhelm the recipe.
- Arrange the bread slices in one layer on a large baking sheet. Place in the oven until toasted.
- When you're ready, remove from the oven, and top each slice with the Pecan Basil Pesto. Add a bit of the Fresh Tomato Salsa to each.
- Note: If you're making this recipe for a party, it's easy to make the pesto and Fresh Tomato Salsa ahead of time. Then when you're guests have arrived and you're ready to serve, simply toast the baguettes, top each with the pesto and salsa and serve. Your guests will be glad you did!