Pesto Knots

Pesto Knots
This image courtesy of Celine Steen

It is easy to make these beautiful knotted rolls. With basil and garlic inside and out, these are a show-stopping crowd-pleaser. You and your friends will feel as if you are in the Sicilian sunshine. The travel well, so pack them in a picnic basket for al fresco dining. We love garlic, but if you don’t, or have no concerns about vampires, feel free to use less.

8 knots

Cooking Methodbaking


Total Timehalf-day

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

Recipe Courseside dish, snack

Dietary Considerationegg-free, halal, kosher, peanut free, vegan, vegetarian

Mealdinner, lunch, snack

Type of Dishbread, rolls


  • ¼ cup (60 ml) lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 105 g (¾ cup) whole spelt flour, divided
  • 33 g (packed ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon) fresh basil leaves, divided
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) unsweetened plain vegan milk, more as needed
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil, divided
  • 9 g (1 tablespoon) pine nuts
  • 8 g (1 tablespoon) nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) ume plum vinegar
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced, divided
  • 1 teaspoon white miso paste
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Pinch of ground black pepper
  • 120 g (1 cup) white whole wheat flour, more as needed
  • Nonstick cooking spray


  1. Stir together the water, maple syrup, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Let sit for 5 minutes for the yeast to activate. Mix in 35 g (¼ cup) of the spelt flour. Let sit for 30 minutes.

  2. Combine 30 g (¾ cup) of the basil, milk, 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of the oil, pine nuts, nutritional yeast, vinegar, 3 cloves of the garlic, rniso, salt, and pepper in a small blender. Process until completely smooth. Pour into the, yeast mixture and add the remaining 70 g (½ cup) whole spelt flour and the whole wheat flour. Knead for 5 minutes to form a smooth and cohesive dough, Add an extra 1 tablespoon (15 ml) milk or (8 g) white whole wheat flour if needed to make a soft, slightly tacky dough. It should not be sticky. Alternatively, the dough may be kneaded by hand on a lightly floured surface. Form the dough into a ball.

  3. Lightly coat a medium-size bowl with cooking spray and put the dough in the bowl, turning it over so the oiled side is facing up, Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 2 hours,

  4. Combine the remaining 2 cloves garlic and remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil in a small bowl.

  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

  6. Deflate the dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 8 equal pieces, Roll each piece into a 12-inch (30 em) rope. Tie a knot close to the center of the dough, tuck under the ends, and place on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pieces, Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 hour.

  7. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C, or gas mark 6).

  8. Remove the kitchen towel and bake the dough for 13 to 15 minutes, until the bottoms sound hollow when tapped with your knuckles.

  9. Use a spoon to drizzle the garlic oil on the knots, Mince the remaining 3 g (1 tablespoon) basil and sprinkle over the rolls.


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