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.