Pesto is a favorite around my house and making your own is always rewarding. Pesto is generally found in italian foods, mainly pasta. But I have also added it to sandwiches, spread it on bread and cooked veggies with it. Original pesto recipes included fresh basil, but I’ve seen people use parsley, mint, cilantro, spinach and kale as well. You can choose just one or do a mix of any of those.
Pesto generally contains parmesan cheese in it. For a vegan version you can add nutritional yeast instead – or leave both out and it will still taste wonderful.
- 2 Cups basil, parsley, mint, cilantro, spinach or kale (your choice, any combination)
- 1/2 Cup Pine Nuts (walnuts or roasted/unsalted sunflower seeds work well too)
- 3 Cloves Garlic
- 1 TBSP Lemon Juice
- 1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast (or parmesan cheese if not vegan)
- 1/4 – 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
- Sea Salt and Ground Black Pepper (to taste)
- Put herbs/greens, nuts, garlic, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast or parmesan (if using) into a food processor. Process until it becomes a coarse mixture.
- Scrape the mixture down the sides of the processor bowl with a spatula.
- Slowly drizzle the olive oil over the mixture as you pulse the processor on and off. Do this until the mixture becomes a smooth, spreadable paste.
- Sprinkle on some sea salt and ground black pepper, stir and taste – add more if needed.
- Store in fridge for flavors to meld together for about an hour.
A few simple recipe ideas are:
- Pesto Pasta (see pic above): Add sauce to cooked pasta noodles. Add veggies if you desire.
- Pesto Toast (see pic below): Toast some bread and spread on the pesto. Add tomato slices if you desire.
- Veggie Pesto Sandwich: Grill up some veggies (eggplant, zucchini, tomato, mushrooms), spread pesto onto some toasted bread, layer the veggies on it and eat up.
- Pesto Pizza: Instead of traditional marinara sauce, use pesto sauce.
- Roasted Veggies with Pesto: Cut up vegetables into bite sized pieces (potatoes, squash, etc) and toss them with some pesto then roast for about 25-30 minutes at 425F.
- Ravioli with pesto: Instead of traditional red sauce, use pesto to serve your raviolis.
- Tortellini with pesto: Instead of traditional red sauce, use pesto to serve your tortellinis.
- Gnocchi with pesto: Instead of traditional red sauce, use pesto to serve your gnocchi.
- Lasagna with pesto: Add a layer of pesto sauce to your lasagna.
- Use as a marinade for proteins: Chicken, shrimp, fish would all go good with a little pesto spread on them and then grilled or baked. Even tofu would be good like this.
- Add to Homemade Pasta Sauce as a seasoning.
Hope you enjoyed the pesto sauce recipe and please share in the comments below how you like to eat your pesto.