Basil Pesto

Monday, April 22, 2013

This picture epitomizes springtime for me!

I love growing plants! I love having them around, and feel so nurturing when I plant and water them and they really flourish (or just keel over dead because I over watered them or something...). But I love having a little herb garden on the balcony with herbs and small vegetables.  Organic basil is one of the best kinds of plants to grow because it is beautiful, it is much cheaper than buying basil at the store, and it smells so good!  So fresh and spicy! My favorite use for basil is definitely pesto sauce.  It is pretty quick and easy, and has meal transforming power.

Basil Pesto (recipe from 101 cookbooks):
1 good-sized handful of washed and dried basil leaves
3 garlic cloves (or 2 tsp of minced garlic, if you are lazy like me)
1 small handful of pine nuts (located in the bulk section of your grocery store -- be warned, they are quite expensive, but thankfully don't weigh very much)
3/4 cup parmesan cheese grated
a few tablespoons of olive oil

Put all ingredients, except your cheese, into a food processor.  Pour 1 Tbs olive oil over the top and combine.  Add olive oil as needed until the mixture is just wet enough to hold together.  I like to press mine into ice cube trays and freeze them and then store them in a plastic bag in their cubes because it makes them a pretty good serving size.  If you do this, you will want to add the Parmesan cheese once you defrost the pesto cubes otherwise the cheese will melt and be almost impossible to spread around your pasta/pizza/sandwich (and, yes, I speak from experience... just leave out the cheese until you are ready to use it.). If you are ready to use it, add the grated cheese and mix together.  Enjoy, thoroughly.   

A few recipes that I like to use basil pesto in:
-- Pesto and Roasted Vegetable Pizza from A Hint of Honey
-- Pesto Zucchini "Spaghetti" from Perry's Plate
-- Pesto Zucchini and Spinach Calzones from Healthy Food for Living
-- Pesto is also fabulous with a baguette or french bread and a lovely, soft, spreadable cheese (such as cream cheese or laughing cow cheese)
-- Pepperoni and Cheddar pizza with pesto sauce instead of tomato sauce
-- Ham/Mozzarella/Pesto Panini combo


  1. You can also use almonds instead of pine nuts which is significantly less expensive. And I don't notice much of a difference.

  2. I need to make this -- the bottles are so expensive!! Thanks for a good recipe.

  3. I use walnuts instead of pine nuts which is also less expensive, and gives a more mild flavor.

  4. I use walnuts instead of pine nuts which is also less expensive, and gives a more mild flavor.

  5. yum! My basil plant is growing like crazy and needs a trim, so I might have to make this for some delicious panini's!


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