Making pesto is one of my life long strategies for helping make the world a better place. Wielding only a blender, I declare "I am not a food waster! I am a happiness maker!" Making pesto is a small but purposeful step toward hugging the planet, myself, my friends and family.
Pesto is a serious topic for two reasons. First, I love pesto. It's on my list of essential foods. It shares that space with avocados, grapefruit, 15 grain bread with extra seeds, pizza from 5 Points Pizza in Nashville, curried anything, nuts and deep dark chocolate. I put it in pasta, spread it on toast, layer it with mozzarella and tomato slices on crostini, scoop it with crackers, and use it as a condiment for any sandwich.
Second, I hate wasting food. Not wasting greens sometimes is a challenge. Greens simply don't last very long and they aren't a suitable candidate for freezing, canning, or drying. I think I would feel really lofty and healthy if I could say greens never go to waste at my house because I always eat salad...but I don't. I mean, I do eat salad and its ok, but I don't love salad. Definitely not as much as pesto.
Traditional pesto is basil, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic and salt. For years I thought of pesto as a summer thing, when fresh basil is plentiful. Even in Tennessee where we have a long growing season, basil is such a tender plant, it doesn't survive past the first cold night. Adding insult to injury, I've had to make successive plantings the last couple of years because I have some basil plant mildew killing thing going on.
In this pesto story, tradition is not required. Perhaps not even desired. I would never diminish the importance of food tradition when it comes to using pineapple in pineapple upside down cake or tomatoes in marinara, but for pesto, basil is not required. Pine nuts are not required. If you're vegan or dairy free, Parmesan cheese is not required. Nutritional yeast can sub in. I would say garlic is required, but you can use fresh or jarred; don't let anybody say you can't. I wouldn't necessarily recommend a substitution for olive oil or salt, but go ahead, play around.
Pesto glory. Here's how I make it.
In the blender, add:
Remember: Peace. Love. Pesto.
*I'm phasing out my use of almonds. Almonds are delightful and it's not their fault it takes so much water to make them, but it takes titanic quantities of water that California doesn't really have to spare right now. Sadly.
Hi, I'm Donna. Long time artisan/creative. Full time work in nonprofit world. Mother of two adult sons. Currently, also mother of two cats.
The patience project. Because patience is a virtue. And a creative challenge.
Don't mess with imperfection. How copper and heat speak for themselves.
Politics and Art wage war inside me
Write 100 words, take a nap and share your mantra
Tile and wood floor...this year's winter project...kitchen renovation