Protein Pesto

This is my version of a classic French dish called anchoiade that I’ve mashed together with a version of another classic recipe, pesto. Anchovies are the star here, but don’t be grossed out just yet. Though I have always been a fan of the anchovy, as long as I’ve known Brandon, he has always equated the anchovy to fish bait. So when I sneakily served him this sauce and saw no grossed out, ‘I need to spit this out’ look, I was pretty proud of myself. Rinsing the anchovy fillets under water seriously diluted the strong flavor so many people abhor. Blend the anchovies up with a handful of other ingredients and you have a very flavorful, simple and versatile sauce/dip/marinade.


  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • handful parsley
  • 2 oz. can of anchovies packed in oil, drained and rinsed in water
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 T red wine vinegar
  • 10 small or 5 large cloves of roasted garlic, method below


Preheat your oven to 300ºF. Break apart the garlic bulb into cloves, leaving the papery jacket intact. Put the garlic cloves in a square of tin foil and drizzle with olive oil. Scrunch up the foil so it completely surrounds and covers the garlic and place in the oven. Let the garlic roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. The garlic is ready when you can easily squeeze the garlic jacket and the clove inside smooshes, you also want to see just a touch of golden color on the bare cloves.

Buzz all the ingredients together in a food processor.

This stuff is great over potatoes, used as a marinade for meats, swirled into cauliflower mash or eggs, drizzled for a salad dressing or used as a dip.


12 responses to “Protein Pesto”

  1. I have a jar of anchovies in the pantry that I had no idea what to do with and all my pesto ingredients in the fridge ready to mix up today…I think I’ll make this instead…sounds wonderful!

    1. let me know how it turns out for you andrea.

  2. How did you serve it to your anchovy fearing husband?

    1. i marinated chicken in it and also topped some roasted potatoes with it. so i’d say it’s safe either way.

  3. I’m not a big fan of parsley, do you think this would work as a basil pesto too?

    1. I was going to ask about basil too. I don’t think parsley would be that great but basil would be awesome.

      1. in all honesty…Megan and I have had a long time aversion to parsley as well. we have even tried growing our own and just couldn’t come to terms with it. we’ve seen recipes for herb salads made predominantly of parsley and just shook our heads. to my dismay…Meg was brave and gave parsley another chance…and I believe this is the first time we have truly enjoyed it.

        i’m sure basil would be fine as well – but the parsley with roasted garlic really worked here too…even for people who were pretty sure they didn’t like parsley.

        but don’t let me twist your arms. 🙂

  4. I just made this is, and it’s way yummier than I expected! I haven’t had anchovies since I was a baby, and I’m shocked to say I really couldn’t taste them at all in the pesto. The acids of vinegar and lemon juice really overpowered any possible fishy flavors. I’m thinking of using this as dressing for a raw tomato onion salad!

  5. This looks GREAT!!! I’ve been looking for a carb-friendly dip, and this looks fabulous. I would call it more of a chimichurri than pesto, but no matter. 🙂 (To compare:

  6. Could this recipe work with sardines instead? I wanted to make this, but accidentally bought sardines instead of anchovies. I’ve never cooked with either, so I’m kind of clueless here..

    1. most definitely. anchovies have a distinct fishy flavor, sardines–not as much. so most people will find them more palatable.

  7. Could I use basil instead of parsley?

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