Pesto is one of my favorite things. I love it's bright green hue; it's big, bold flavor; and the smell of fresh garlic and basil wafting through the kitchen. I love that you can splatter it on sandwiches and pizzas, use it as a pasta sauce, or turn it into a dressing. It's so simple, yet it imparts so much flavor and punch.
Most of the store-bought varieties don't even come close to the real deal. They're loaded with soybean oil, sunflower oil, potato and a variety of other non-traditional ingredients. So, last Sunday I stocked up on basil and had a pesto-making frenzy.
I often react to nuts, as well as gluten, so I left the pine nuts out and made this nut-allergy friendly version instead. Aside from the flavor perks, pesto also offers heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats, vitamin E, vitamin K, and a variety of anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals.
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 cloves garlic
A pinch of pepper
Salt, to taste
Note: If you want to add pine nuts you can. Toast two tablespoons of pine nuts in a pan over medium heat until golden, and throw them into the blender with the other ingredients.
Crush and finely chop the garlic.
Grate the parmesan.
Toss all of the ingredients into blender, and blend on high until smooth.
Use within 3 days or pour it into an ice-cube and freeze it for later!
6 Simple Ways To Use Pesto:
Smear it onto a sandwich
Toss it through cooked pasta
Use it as a marinade for poultry, seafood or tofu
Mix it with low-fat yogurt to create a creamy dip
Mix it with kefir for a creamy pesto dressing
Use it as an alternative to tomato sauce on pizzas.