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Pesto, 3 Ways

August 20, 2011

finished pesto

Ahh pesto. What could be more typically summer than homemade pesto derived from bountiful backyard (or farmers market) herbs? With our own garden exploding, the Freds decided we better get on our game and start processing our herbs to avoid kicking ourselves this winter for our negligence. After all, there’s nothing worse than a winter without a freezer full of pesto cubes to rely on in the darkest of days.

basil leaves

While traditional basil, parm, pine nut pesto is great, the Freds aren’t purists when it comes to our classifications. If it’s delectable, green, herb based and spreadable, well then we’re going to call it pesto. We don’t think there’s anything to be gained by being stodgy and narrow-minded, but if you want to be all proper feel free to call these pesto variations anything you like. Delicious herb spreads, pesto posers, green tasty mash, whatever.

nuts and parm

Initially, we set ou to make a batch of “traditional” pesto. But then we got into the garden, started harvesting and realized that we had way more than the two cups of basil called for in most recipes. We had more like 30 cups of basil, as well as an abundance of parsley, oregano, sage, thyme and rosemary. So we decided it was time to get creative. Because who wants 15 cups of traditional pesto when you can have a cup each of 15 different varieties of pesto to keep your taste buds interested all winter! Today we’re sharing the  three combinations we came up with this weekend, stay tuned for more adaptations (we’re thinking an oregano pesto will be next), as well as other suggestions for preserving your herb bounty.

parsley leaves

Lemony Basil Pesto

2 cups basil leaves

1/4 cup parsley leaves

1/2 cup roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds or pine nuts

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tbs lemon juice, plus extra to taste

Salt and Pepper

Parsley Walnut Olive Pesto

2 cups parsley leaves

1/2 cup raw, unsalted walnuts

2 garlic cloves

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1/2 cup olive oil

5-7 black olives, pitted

Salt and Pepper

Basil Sunflower Almond Pesto

2 cups basil leaves

2 garlic cloves

1/4 cup roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds

1/4 cup raw unsalted almonds

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1/2 cup olive oil

Salt and Pepper


Pulse all ingredients except for oil, salt and pepper in a food processor until they form a well blended paste, then mix in your oil and add salt and pepper to taste.

If freezing, we suggest freezing in ice cube trays for easily reheat-able single serving portions.

three kinds of pesto

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