Pesto is that miracle sauce you can put on absolutely everything; salads, sandwiches, appetizers and every sort of main dish you could possibly think of. We felt the only logical thing to do in light of this fact was to create the very best pesto recipe for your week and weekend. We took a stab at it, so let us know if you think our pesto is the besto…(yea we went there).
Basic Basil Pesto Sauce
1 1/2 cups fresh Basil Leaves
2 tablespoons Pine Nuts, toasted
1-2 cloves Garlic
2 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1/3 cup Olive Oil
Combine basil leaves, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor. Pulse a few times to roughly roughly chop everything. Add cheese, lemon juice, salt, and red pepper flakes. Pulse for a few more seconds. With the food processor running, pour olive oil in. Store in a clean jar for 1 week.
How to Substitute Basic Pesto Ingredients:
Basil can be swapped with equal amounts of fresh Cilantro, Parsley, Mint,or Sage. You can also experiment with using a combination of these fresh herbs, such as 3/4 cup basil and 3/4 cup mint. Try substituting 1/2 of the basil (3/4 cup) with Spinach, Kale, Arugula, Blanched Broccoli Florets or Blanched Asparagus to add a kick of vegetables to your pesto sauce.
Pine nuts can be swapped with equal amounts toasted Walnuts, Cashews, or Almonds. For a nut free option, swap pine nuts for the same amount of lightly toasted sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.
For dairy free pesto, you can swap the grated parmesan with toasted cashews, nutritional yeast, or leave out all together.
Believe it or not, it is possible to make pesto without a food processor. You can make it in a blender instead or if you are completely sans electric gadgets, roughly chop all ingredients and grind with a mortar and pestle.
Photographed by Alli Shepherd.