Basil Tarragon Purée Recipe

Tarragon complements meats, poultry, and seafood, and basil complements most any dish, so the combination of these herbs makes a tasty purée.

| May/June 2019


  Photo by Adobe Stock/Marnel Tomić

I’m always happy to see my tarragon pushing through the soil early in the spring, having survived another winter. By summer, it’s in full force and ready to combine with basil. Plant or purchase flavorful French tarragon, rather than the much blander Russian variety. French tarragon is bursting with licorice flavor, so a little goes a long way, but by all means add a little more to this recipe if you want a more pronounced flavor. Tarragon complements meats, poultry, and seafood. And, of course, basil complements most dishes in the universe; you can make syrup and even ice cream with it.

Yield: About  2 cups.


  • 1-1/2 cups basil or cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup French tarragon leaves
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3/4 cup olive oil or grapeseed oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons mild vinegar (white balsamic, seasoned rice, or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic glaze or pomegranate molasses


Place all ingredients in a mini food processor, and process until smooth, or to desired consistency, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Discover more great recipes in Herbal Pesto Recipes.

Excerpted with permission from The Pesto Cookbook © by Olwen Woodier, published by Storey Publishing. Photography by Lara Ferroni.


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