How to Make Pesto: Three Delicious Recipes to Preserve Garden Fresh Basil 3


Here’s how to make pesto from garden fresh basil to flavor pasta, sandwiches, and more. These homemade pesto recipes will knock your socks off!

green homemade pesto in a white dish

I’ve coaxed two basil plants to thrive in my very mediocre garden this year, so we’ve been having fresh homemade pesto for the past couple of months. (I’ve also been making radish leaf pesto!)

This is one of our favorite garden-grown condiments — a jar in the refrigerator doesn’t last long. (Scroll down for suggestions on ways to use it.)

How to make pesto at home

What we consider to be pesto — a sauce made from fresh basil and several other ingredients — is just one of many kinds of ‘pesto’ you might find in an Italian market.

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The word pesto is derived from the Italian verb pestare, meaning to crush. 

So while you might think ‘basil’ when you hear the word pesto, you might find broccoli, or artichoke, or any other number of pestos in Italy.

Pesto is made by crushing ingredients together, or in this day and age, using a blender to puree them.

All three of the basil pesto recipes here are made with the same simple technique: Combine ingredients in a blender and process until pureed.

Since the solid ingredients outweigh the liquids, it’s helpful to have a tamper or pusher that you can safely use to push the ingredients down while the blender is running.

How to freeze homemade pesto

If plan to use your pesto within a day or two, store it in the refrigerator.

To preserve for a longer amount of time, freeze the pesto.

Portion pesto into jars or fill an ice cube tray for smaller flavor bursts to add to soups.

When I freeze pesto, I usually make it without the cheese and add it in upon use.

Whether freezing pesto or keeping it in the refrigerator, to prevent browning you can drizzle a layer of olive oil onto the surface of the pesto.

5 from 1 vote
Macadamia Nut Basil Pesto
Prep Time
2 mins
Cook Time
3 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 
Since we have macadamia nuts available locally, I've taken to using those, but feel free to use the more traditional pine nuts or even walnuts instead.
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 169 kcal
Author: Kris Bordessa
Ingredients
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 4 cups freshly picked basil leaves (no stems)
  • 3/4  cup macadamia nuts
  • 1 cup olive oil, pine nuts, or walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 1 cup Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
Instructions
  1. Drop garlic cloves and macadamia nuts into blender or food processor. Pulse until chopped coarsely, then add remaining ingredients. Process on high until pesto is nicely pureed.
5 from 1 vote
Lemon Basil Pesto
Prep Time
2 mins
Cook Time
3 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 

Try this bright version of pesto on your next pasta dish.

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 324 kcal
Author: Kris Bordessa
Ingredients
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 4 cups freshly picked basil leaves (no stems)
  • 3/4  cup macadamia nuts, pine nuts, or walnuts
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 1 cup Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
Instructions
  1. Drop garlic cloves and macadamia nuts into blender or food processor. Pulse until chopped coarsely, then add remaining ingredients. Process on high until pesto is nicely pureed.

homemade pesto in jar with jute twine

★ Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

5 from 1 vote
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
Prep Time
2 mins
Cook Time
3 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 

Tomato pesto can bridge the gap between traditional red sauce and traditional pesto.

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 191 kcal
Author: Kris Bordessa
Ingredients
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 4 cups freshly picked basil leaves (no stems)
  • 3/4  cup macadamia nuts, pine nuts, or walnuts
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 1 cup Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil
Instructions
  1. Drop garlic cloves and macadamia nuts into blender or food processor. Pulse until chopped coarsely, then add remaining ingredients. Process on high until pesto is nicely pureed.

Using your freshly made homemade pesto

The obvious way to use your pesto is to toss it with pasta.

You can use it as is, or make a creamy sauce by stirring 1/2 cup of pesto into a cup of heavy cream.

But you can also use it many other ways!

  • Spread some on your tortilla when you’re making wraps.
  • Mix it into mayonnaise for a sandwich spread.
  • Add it to a sun-dried tomato quiche.
  • Toss a cube in for flavoring when you’re making marinara sauce or minestrone soup.
  • Slather it on pizza (it’s great with cubed chicken). My pizza dough recipe is here.
  • Brush some onto focaccia.
  • Add a spoonful or two when you make hummus for a different flavor.
  • Make a pesto/mozzarella quesadilla.
  • Try a grilled eggplant and pesto sandwich.
  • When you’re making an egg salad sandwich, slather one slice of bread with pesto. Sounds weird, but trust me.
  • Stir a spoonful into your favorite vinaigrette salad dressing.
  • Top a baked potato.
  • Slice a ciabatta roll, spread the cut sides with pesto and fill with chopped sun-dried tomatoes and slice mozzarella. Broil to melt the cheese (or use a panini maker).
  • Add a dollop to your morning omelet.
Basil is an easy summer herb to grow. Check out these three low carb pesto recipes, as well as how to freeze pesto to preserve the summer flavor. #recipe #lowcarb #fresh


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