Let’s talk about pesto. Delicious. Versatile. Packed with antioxidants and vitamins. Bursting with flavor. Pretty much all things yummy.
But I feel like it gets a bad rap for being too expensive, ingredient exclusive and labor intensive to make. Orrr maybe I just gave it that rap 🤣
I remember making this with my aunt and cousins. It was a blast, but I remember literally plucking BUSHELS of basil, toasting bags upon bags of pine nuts, using gallons of olive oil and huge Costco containers of Parmesan. Then we would spend the entire evening whirring these ingredients up in a food processor. And I mean, we made quite a bit of pesto, but I remember being shocked at how countertops full of ingredients could be reduced to a few jars of <delicious> green paste.
It just seemed like making pesto, while a delicious and fun family project, would always be expensive and laborious.
And I’ve recently discovered that that isn’t always the case. I’ll admit that my summertime pesto always has basil because it’s so easy to grow, but my nuts and oils always vary to what I have on hand. Sometimes I even use avocados in place of some of the nuts/oils.
And my winter time pesto… I never know what’s gonna be in that. Sometimes it’s arugula. Sometimes it’s a mix of spinach and other herbaceous leafy greens. I’ve used kale.
And I think I’ve used every nut imaginable. The only ones I don’t recommend are peanuts and pecans… just too sweet and powerful, without being complimentary to the Parmesan and greens. I also highly recommend toasting. Adds an extra step, but really enhances the flavor. But if you’re in a pinch for time, not toasting them is still fine. Walnuts, macadamia, pine, Brazil and hazel- nuts all work well, in my opinion.
Anyhoo. I’m rambling. But I encourage you to play with pesto! It’s fun and Inthink you’d be surprised at the yummy combos you can make 🤗
Below is the recipe for the pictured pesto, and below are other yummy combos I’ve tried, with about the same ingredient ratios 🤗
Summer Basil Pesto
2c. Basil (packed)
2/3c toasted, then cooled walnuts
2/3c Parmesan cheese
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Place basil on the bottom of a food processor/vitamix. Squeeze lemon over top. Add walnuts and Parmesan cheese. Pulse until ingredients are well incorporated. Slowly add oil until the mixture becomes pasty (you may have to play around with the amount of oil here).
Try not to eat it all with a spoon.
I love this on Pesto Zoodles. On crackers. With carrots. With pasta. In this pasta salad. With slices of tomato. Gosh just about anything I want to give a flavor boost really!
Here are some other combos I’ve really enjoyed:
Parsely-pine nut-avocado oil