Pesto is a fresh and flavorful combination of a leafy green (think herb, arugula, spinach, etc.) + some type of nut (pine nuts, walnuts) + olive oil + sharp aged cheese (like parmesan) + garlic that can serve as an Italian sauce or spread. My basil plant is the only thing in my garden that I happen to have a green thumb with and it runneth over right now! One suggestion that I have heard of is making pesto and freezing it in an ice cube tray. However, after I made this pesto, I decided to do some meal prep because my husband and my daughter are returning home after a week of travel and because I am stuck at home during some renovations.
I picked my basil and put it in a pot to fill up with water. This allows any residual dirt to sink to the bottom.
This is the best thrown together no-recipe pesto I have made. I wanted it to be quick and easy and I am currently out of walnuts and pine nuts and shelling pistachios was going to take too long. It came down to my supply of sunflower or hemp seeds and the latter is a superfood full of Omega 3, fiber, and protein. Not to mention that my sunflower seeds are currently maple thyme flavored 🙂 . I also left out the garlic because I have several relatives and friends who don’t eat garlic (I KNOW; If you just can’t imagine pesto sans garlic, include 1 clove OR 1/2 tsp granulated garlic powder 🙂 .) and was curious if I could get away without it.
I used a food processor because it is harder to scoop the pesto out from under blender blades. I also like to pulse it gradually to retain some texture. Also, don’t limit your use of pesto to pasta and pizza! I have used it as a dip as well as spread it in wraps, sandwiches, and quesadillas.
I also “lined” my stuffed peppers with them as layered flavor is the best!
And on roasted veggies, yum!
GF, GRF, NF, and can be DF by using soy cheese, almond cheese, or nutritional yeast(a deactivated form of yeast rich in B vitamins with a nutty, cheesy taste)
Yields approximately 1 cup
3 cups fresh basil, loosely packed, rinsed
1/3 cup shelled hemp seeds (normally sold this way, buy at Costco, Trader Joe’s, or here)
2 tbsp finely grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
If you just can’t imagine pesto sans garlic, include 1 clove OR 1/2 tsp granulated garlic powder 🙂 .
Place basil leaves in food processor then all of the other ingredients on top of them.
Pulse to desired consistency.
Spoon into a bowl and stir in vinegar or lemon juice.
Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.