Presto, it’s Pesto!

The recipe I use for pesto is from The Moosewood Cookbook. Here’s my copy of that cookbook. Can you tell it’s well-used?


Here is the recipe, with notes on substitutions to make it vegan. It says it makes enough for six servings, but I think it makes more than that. I guess it depends on how much pesto you think is a single serving. Since pesto has a strong flavor, I think less is more.

Homemade Pesto

  • 3 packed cups basil leaves, removed from stems (it’s way more fun if you grow your own and use it for this recipe!)
  • 2 large cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, walnuts, almonds or a combination
  • 3/4 cup (packed) fresh chopped parsley (it’s way more fun if you grow your own of this, too, and if you don’t have any on hand, just add another cup of basil)
  • 3/4 cup fresh-grated Parmesan cheese (do yourself a favor and don’t use the stuff in the green can. And, to make it vegan, add nutritional yeast, instead.)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (I use extra virgin)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (I don’t do this, I add an extra 1/4 cup olive oil)
  • salt to taste

The Moosewood recipe gives directions for a blender—I use a food processor and add everything but the leaves and oil and start whirring. Then I keep loading the leaves and oil and whir until it’s a smooth paste. It’s smooth, but a little chunky. Don’t go crazy trying to make it be as smooth as yogurt or anything. An interesting tidbit about pesto, if you’ve never made it before. It goes from bright green to olive green as it hits the air. Kind of like what an avocado does.

Once you are done, put a dollop on whatever you want, but it is especially good on noodles or zoodles (zucchini noodles)!

Freeze leftover pesto in ice cube trays then pop them into a freezer bag and enjoy pesto throughout the winter.

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