One of my favorite things about summer is the bounty of fresh herbs that are just outside my doorstep. Fresh herbs make any meal instantly more flavorful and beautiful. My favorite thing to do with all of those fresh herbs (aside from sprinkle them on everything) is to make pesto! It’s especially great for lazy summertime cooking. I like to dollop it on grilled vegetables, pasta, spaghetti squash, salads, eggs, toasted bread, pizza, sandwiches… you get the idea. With just a few easy steps, it makes anything an instant tasty meal whether you feel like cooking or not.
Basic Basil Pesto:
- 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 small garlic clove
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups basil leaves
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil more for a smoother pesto
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese optional
Variation: replace the basil with:
Variation: replace half the basil with:
- 1 cup arugula
- 1 cup chopped kale
- 1 cup cubed raw zucchini
- 4 artichoke hearts
- 1 roasted red pepper
- 1/2 an avocado
- 1/2 cup kale stems boil until soft
Variation: replace the pine nuts with:
- Hemp Seeds
Variation: for something extra, add:
- Nutritional yeast in place of the parmesan
- Pinches of red pepper flakes
- 1 charred jalapeño
- 2 to 4 sun dried tomatoes
- Splash of honey or maple syrup if your pesto is too sharp
- In a food processor, combine the pine nuts, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and pulse until well chopped.
- Add the basil and pulse until combined.
- With the food processor running, drizzle in the olive oil and pulse until combined. Add the parmesan cheese, if using, and pulse to briefly combine. For a smoother pesto, add more olive oil.