How to make pesto

A hit of fresh pesto will liven up anything. It’s summertime now, which means it’s basil season. Here’s how to make an easy vegan basil pesto sauce in minutes.

Do you make pesto? The best time to make pesto is when basil is in high season. One bunch of basil will make enough pesto to last a week, and add so much enjoyment to simple summer meals.

Traditional pesto has lots of Parmesan cheese in it. I love that kind of pesto, but I wanted to see if I could make a vegan version that was just as delicious. I simply left the cheese out, and was so surprised to find that the pesto tasted great without it. You can add cheese if you prefer, but you might want to try it this way and see if you actually need the cheese.

Three things I love about pesto

Making pesto is fast. Fast as in, instant. Got to love that.

Pesto, without the cheese, keeps well.

Pesto is extremely versatile. There are very few savory foods that pesto doesn’t compliment.

Making pesto

I use my Vita Mix blender. It’s super powerful and makes great sauces and condiments. I’m not sure how regular blenders handle the nuts.

  • Wash a bunch of basil, throw it in the Vita Mix.
  • Add equal amounts of raw pine nuts and good quality extra virgin olive oil.
  • Add a dash of sea salt (if you were using cheese, you would skip this)
  • Add a few whole, peeled cloves of garlic (how many will depend on how big your garlic is)
  • Blend until smooth, and taste. Does it need more oil? Nuts to give it body? Garlic? Adjust and blend again until you get a nice smooth paste with a bright balance of garlic and basil.

I toss pesto with everything. In the picture, I’ve roasted zucchini and mustard greens in olive oil and salt, added a few strips of fresh pasta from a previous lasagne, and tossed it all with pesto. Delicious. I also roast fingerling potatoes and mustard greens, kale or broccoli rabe, and toss them all with pesto while still hot. This dish is actually better the next day, after the pesto has made its way into the center of the creamy potatoes. I prefer to eat it at room temperature, like a pesto-potato salad.

Making pesto takes two minutes, keeps for a week and adds joy to everything it touches. Throw a dollop in pumpkin soup, add some to scrambled eggs, smear some on top of your pork loin, toss it with all kinds of veggies.

Be happy, make pesto. Pronto!


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