Tuesday, August 14, 2012

No-Fail Pesto Recipe(s)

Hi. Let's talk pesto.
I don't know about you, but I love the stuff. Michael and I have it at least once a week, whether it's on pasta or my favorite oven roasted tomato & pesto crostini
It's easy to buy premade pesto - but it's just about as easy to make it! This post has a few different pesto recipes, based on season, preference, and food allergies. You're welcome, friends.
To prove how much I love pesto, I'll share this bit of info with y'all: 
We moved into our apartment a week ago, and even though we don't have a couch, dining room table, or even shelves set up; we have a basil plant. Yep. You can get basil plants at Trader Joe's for $3.99! Even if you use all the leaves and never grow another on the plant, it's still worth it- basil can be expensive! 
Here he/she is hanging out on our balcony:
 So here's the situation. This recipe is my basic, summer pesto recipe. It only involves 5 ingredients. (I said basic!) Since basil can be hard to find/expensive in the winter, only my summer pesto recipe is made with 100% basil. Between farmer's markets and basil plants, it's totally affordable to use basil with no filler. 

Basic Summer Basil Pesto Recipe:
What you'll need:
4-5 cups of basil leaves
4 large cloves of garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

How to make it happen:
Step 1: Clean garlic cloves and throw in food processor. Pulse until minced.
Step 2: Add basil leaves to processor one cup at a time, processing until chopped before adding another cup.
Step 3: Add salt & pepper, and slowly drizzle olive oil in while pulsing/processing on low speed
 Easy, right?
Now before you all get pissy on me saying "WAIT LAURA I THOUGHT PESTO HAD PINE NUTS IN IT! AND CHEESE!" calm yourself.
Like I said, this is my simple summer recipe- it's cheap & easy. Once you start adding in pine nuts & cheese the price goes up, and the people with silly food allergies can't have it. Let's face it, we should all be able to enjoy pesto! Before I get to sharing the other pesto recipes, take a look at the the picture below. On the left is my pesto, on the right is store bought. Just the color alone should convince you to make it fresh!
Okay, so now that you've calmed down about my simple pesto recipe not being up to your standards, I'll share the other options with you. The steps are essentially the same as the basic recipe, so I've mainly just shared ingredients & tips.

1. Winter Pesto: Spinach & Basil
Since basil can be expensive in the winter, spinach is a great filler. Still has a great taste, texture, etc- but for a fraction of the cost. 
What you'll need:
4 cups of spinach leaves  //   1 cup basil leaves  //  4 cloves garlic  //   1/2 teaspoon salt   // 1/2 teaspoon black pepper   //  2 teaspoons olive oil
(I add more pepper to give it a little more flavor for the winter time, and a little more olive oil to help smooth out the spinach leaves. no steps change- just process spinach with basil leaves)

2. Cheesy Pesto : Basil & Parmesean
Yes, I love cheese in my pesto. In the basic recipe there isn't cheese, because sometimes when you mix the pesto in with pasta it becomes gluey and hard to stir/serve. Thus, I normally just top my pasta with cheese after the fact. If you happen to be making this pesto for a crostini topping (or are just hell bent on lots of cheese in your life), then this recipe is for you.
What you'll need:
Either 5 cups basil or the spinach & basil ratio listed above  //  4 cloves garlic  //  1/4 teaspoon salt  // 1/4 teaspoon black pepper  // 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil  // 1/4 cup grated parmesean cheese
(I cut down on the salt since the cheese is plenty salty, same with the oil. For this recipe, after processing the garlic, throw the cheese in to process. This will chop up the cheese even better!)

3. Nutty Pesto
I don't really like pine nuts, but if that's your jam- go crazy folks. I prefer almonds in my pesto- but that's just me! If you choose to add nuts, more power to you. All you need to do is add 1 ounce of your favorite nuts to the food processor before your garlic to get them chopped up fairly fine. Easy, right?

So there you have it.
A post entirely dedicated to delicious pesto. 

Any questions? Or pesto recipe recommendations?
Do share. Email me : beautyandbeard@gmail.com



  1. i love you for giving me a pesto recipe without cheese in it!!!!!!!!

  2. I will be making this! I didn't know you could buy Basil plants at Trader Joes, thank you!!

  3. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I love pesto and I will definitely be making this soon!

  4. based on the color alone i will be making my own pesto, it looks much fresher since it is. thanks for sharing the recipe!

  5. oh I love this post. I want to make this every day!

  6. Okay, Laura... this is so amazing looking! Fresh and the perfect shade of green :)

  7. I soo want a basil plant because we buy it, use it once or twice then it goes bad. Our aparment doesn't get any kind of natural light, so once we move....love the recipe!! Thanks for sharing


Each and every comment absolutely makes my day! Thanks for taking the time to share some love, stop by again soon!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...