Well, I finally harvested the garden basil. I have been snipping buds off it for several weeks to force more growth into the leaves but the plant was getting HUGE. I snipped off most of the branches about 3/4 of the way down the stalk but left some of the plant to continue growing. Since I have so much fresh garden basil, I decided to make a homemade pesto recipe this week!
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What is Pesto?
The original pesto recipe was made with basil, coarse salt, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, pine nuts (sometimes toasted) and grated cheese like Parmesian. I have seen many variations over the years. Making pesto with walnuts is a good way to cut the cost since pine nuts are so expensive.
You can also make lettuce pesto or even pesto with other herbs like parsley. Typically, homemade pesto is served mixed with pasta, although I find it delicious slathered on a piece of Italian bread that is lightly toasted. You can also use it as a sauce on homemade pizza. I keep a jar of pesto in the fridge for nights when I am in a hurry. Just dump on some pasta and serve with raw veggies for an easy weeknight meal.
Making Homemade Pesto
We have another month or so of hot weather so I may be able to get one more small harvest of my garden basil at the end of September. I am looking forward to a few more batches of pesto this summer. Its incredibly easy to make and we all love it. Here are a few things I have learned about making homemade pesto:
- Make sure you rinse your basil before making your homemade pesto! Next time I am going to have to remember to shake out the cuttings and spray them outside with the hose because I brought a TON of little tiny hopper type bugs into my kitchen!
- Pick in the morning: Garden basil has the most flavor first thing in the morning.
- Use a food processor: This is the easiest way to puree your pesto recipe. Just don’t make it TOO smooth. I like a bit of texture!
- Freeze it back. I measure it out into 1/3 cup serving sizes and freeze them. It is GREAT to spread on french bread that has been buttered and toasted in the oven! I do this in my food processor but a blender might work, too, just do smaller batches! The original recipe said to use a mortar and pestle but that is NOT going to happen!
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Want to make your own homemade pesto? Check out my article about edible gardening and start growing your own basil. If you are not sure how to get started, buy a basil growing kit. Then, check out these other delicious basil recipes:
- Fresh Blueberry Tart Recipe with Basil and Honey
- Watermelon Salad Recipe with Basil and Feta
- White Bean Cherry Tomato Salad
Homemade Pesto Recipe
So, here is a quick and easy Homemade Pesto recipe.
- 6 ounces basil leaves (about 3 cups)
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 7 cloves fresh garlic
- 8 ounces fresh Parmesan cheese
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 4 TBSP softened butter
- 1 tsp salt
- Put basil, pine nuts and garlic into bowl of food processor. Add salt and cheese and pulse until a thick paste starts to form.
- Trickle in olive oil and continue to pulse. Add butter and process to not quite smooth.
- Measure out and freeze or use as a sauce for pasta or a topping for garlic bread. 1/3 cup of pesto is enough for about 3/4 of a pound of pasta.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 265Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 570mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 6g
Nutrition information not always accurate
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.