When there’s plenty of basil, make a versatile and delicious quick 5 Minute Basil Pesto or a Basil Mint Pesto. These pestos can be used for pizza, pasta, in place of mayo, on a grilled cheese sandwich or even brushed over corn on the cob.
Traditional Basil Pesto
My husband and I went to our city’s green market this past weekend and picked up a huge bunch of basil. (Just look at my lovely basil!) I wish that my basil would grow like theirs but no such luck. Of course, with all this basil on hand I had to think up something to make with it. Aha, a pesto would be delicious!
I decided to make a traditional basil pesto, which I love, and use on a pesto pasta. Of course, there are literally hundreds of ways to use it and a great condiment to have on hand. It can be used as the base of a pizza , mixed with mayonnaise on a BLT or just a touch to dress up a grilled cheese sandwich. You can also mix it with butter and brush on corn on the cob or toss with green beans with a squeeze of lemon for a tasty side dish.
Since I still had a boatload of basil, I decided to try adding some extra herbs and mint to use as a sauce on lamb chops. And wow, was I surprised at how delicious it was! It got a high five from my husband so I was pretty proud of myself. I even had some leftover that I tossed with some sauteed shrimp and served over a quinoa pasta. Two meals with one sauce – love it!
This gave me ample opportunity to use my new Ninja blender. Yay! It’s so much fun seeing how many different ways I can use it. And it whipped this sauce out in a matter of seconds! Holy moly!
What is pesto?
A pesto is strictly made with basil, olive oil, garlic and cheese. If using, say cilantro instead of basil, it can not be called a pesto. Who knew!
Is Basil pesto good for you?
Basil pesto contains ingredients, such as olive oil, garlic, pine nuts and basil, which all have healthy benefits associated with a well-balanced diet. However, the olive oil and pine nuts have a higher fat count, therefore a higher calorie count, so be aware of that if on a weight-loss diet.
Can the basil stems be used in the pesto.
It is not recommended to use the thicker stems but the finer stems near the leaves are fine to incorporate in the pesto.
Enjoy! And I’d love to know in the comments of your ideas for using basil pesto.
- 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
- 2 cloves fresh garlic chopped
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese grated
Combine first 3 ingredients in a blender, chopper or food processor.
- Pulse until coarsely chopped.
- Slowly pour in oil until mixture is smooth and well mixed.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Mix in cheese and serve immediately.
To make a Basil Mint Pesto, use half the recipe above and add 3/4 cup fresh mint leaves and 1/4 cup parsley.
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