Pesto is popular Italian sauce or condiment that has a few simple ingredients. In a recent post we discussed planting a kitchen herb garden. You can use these fresh herbs and others to make different types of pestos.
The basic ingredients of pesto include:
In a food processor, combine the herbs, nuts, and garlic until well ground. Slowly add the olive oil until a paste is formed. Gently mix in the cheese, salt & pepper, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Store in the refrigerator or freezer for later use.
Let’s explore some varieties of pesto and their uses.
A classic pesto is made with basil and pine nuts. This is a perfect sauce to coat warm pasta or to layer on top of fresh salmon for baking.
For a bitter herb pesto, use arugula for the fresh green component and lightly toasted walnuts for the nuts. This is also excellent on pasta and pairs well with mild proteins, such as grilled chicken breast.
Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that works quite well as the herb ingredient in pesto. The spinach will give you a creamier consistency and a rich green color. Spinach pesto is mild in flavor and is a nice topping on hardy risotto and polenta dishes.
2-Herb Vegan Pesto
For the vegans in your family you will want to omit the cheese. A flavorful vegan pesto can be a combination of basil & parsley leaves. To get a rich and almost cheesy flavour, use lightly toasted raw cashews + 2 tsps of white miso paste. You might also consider adding a small amount of nutritional yeast. This version of pesto is excellent over grilled or baked tofu planks. It is also nice spooned on top of vegetable soup.
The Paleolithic Diet is all about non-starchy fruits and vegetables, high-quality protein, and healthy fats. There is nothing better than a grilled grass-fed flank steak with a chimichurri style of pesto spooned over the top just before serving. Use 1/2 parsley and 1/2 cilantro for the herbs. Eliminate the cheese and nuts. Add the juice of a small lemon and a pinch (or more) of cayenne pepper flakes.
You can find all the ingredients for making pesto at Famous Foods. Shop our variety of fresh produce, cheese, and bulk nuts and spices for your homemade pesto. For a quicker option, also check out our selection of authentic ready to use pestos in Aisle 8!