Have your basil now and later—make pesto!

Basil Pesto

Basil pesto, October 2011

Lovely basil is so fragrant, and it’s so easy to grow. If you have an abundance, making it into pesto is a perfect way to preserve its flavorful goodness for weeks or months. This recipe can be scaled up or down, depending on how much basil you have. Freeze it and you’ll have pesto that’s ready to use in any number of ways at a moment’s notice.

Ways to use pesto:

  • Mix it with pasta and added vegetables and serve hot or cold.
  • Spread it on pizza crust with or without tomato sauce, top with cheese and other favorite toppings and bake.
  • Spread it on sliced French bread or sandwiches.
  • Brush it on shrimp or steak and grill or broil.
  • Use it as a rub for fish or chicken.
  • Add it to mashed potatoes.
  • Place a dollop in a bowl of soup.
  • Add it to scrambled eggs or omelets.

To make the pesto dairy-free, try a Parmesan cheese substitute. I like Galaxy Nutritional Foods Veggie Grated Topping, Parmesan Flavor, but it’s not casein-free. (Casein is a protein in milk that some people are allergic to.) If you need to avoid casein, you can leave the cheese out entirely, and the pesto is still delicious.

Basil Pesto
Recipe type: Condiment
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
  • 4 tablespoons pine nuts or coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups slightly packed washed basil leaves (about 4 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese or nondairy cheese substitute (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Place walnuts or pine nuts and garlic in food processor and pulse until minced. Add oil and pulse quickly again. Add basil leaves, optional Parmesan cheese, and salt, and pulse again until leaves are finely chopped, scraping sides of bowl as necessary.
  2. Serve immediately, or freeze in 2-tablespoon portions in ice cube trays, then pop cubes out and store in plastic bags in the freezer.
Serving size: 1 tablespoon; Calories: 77; Fat: 7g; Saturated fat: 1g; Unsaturated fat: 0g Carbohydrates: Carbohydrate: 1g; Sugar: 0g; Fiber: 1g; Protein: 3g; Cholesterol: 4mg.


One Response to “Have your basil now and later—make pesto!”

  1. Hannah says:

    I have never tried making Pesto, but I love basil and this recipe sounds really good Eileen. I really like the idea of putting it with eggs.

    Could you use already frozen basil to make pesto?

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