Summer is the perfect time to use that surplus of fresh basil to make some pesto. Pesto is traditionally made using fresh basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts and olive oil. However, you can make equally delicious (and nutritious) variations using fresh parsley or spinach leaves in place of basil and walnuts in place of pine nuts. Pesto tastes great on pizza, in a cold (or warm) pasta dish, on grilled chicken or fish/seafood, in a veggie soup, on a crostini, in a grilled cheese sandwich or potato salad, etc.
If the amazing aroma and fresh flavor were not reason enough, basil is also good for you! It’s loaded with vitamins (A, K), minerals (iron, potassium, manganese, copper, magnesium) and disease fighting antioxidants!
A few great pesto recipes to try:
- Grilled Pesto Potatoes by Two Peas and Their Pod
- Sweet Potato Soup with Walnut Pesto by She Wears Many Hats
- Sausage, Red Bell Pepper and Spinach Pesto Pizza by Bev Cooks
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Toast the walnuts by placing them on a baking sheet lined with foil. Toast for 5-7 minutes (walnuts will be fragrant)
- To the food processor add the basil, Parmesan cheese, walnuts, olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper, then blend until a paste consistency is formed (about 30 seconds).
- Serve with toasted baguette, pasta, fish, or as a dip for vegetables.