Every kitchen must have a solid recipe for pesto! The sauce works wonderfully over vegetables, grilled meats, or fish; combined with sour cream for a creamy dip; and even stirred into soups for an extra depth of flavor. Basil pesto is a classic combination, but there are many other combinations you can create. You can replace the basil with equal amounts of kale, olives, roasted bell peppers, collard greens, sun-dried tomatoes, peas, etc.
Pesto freezes very well – I freeze small portions in an ice cube tray so I can thaw and use the pesto when I’m short on time. Traditional pesto uses pine nuts, but I like to use walnuts because they’re more economical and easier to find at the store.
Here’s my basic recipe for pesto:
Basic Pesto Recipe
Makes about 2 cups
2 cups basil leaves (or olives, sun-dried tomatoes, etc.)
1 cup soaked and dehydrated walnuts (I use this recipe minus the maple syrup)
1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese (you can omit this if diary-free and reduce the olive oil by 1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Place the basil leaves, walnuts, cheese, garlic and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse about 10 times until all ingredients are minced. With the processor on, slowly pour in the olive oil. Adjust salt to taste.
One of my current favorite dishes is Kale Pesto with Zucchini Noodles and Sautéed Shrimp. If you make the pesto ahead of time, this dish can come together in about 15 minutes. You can also serve this dish with sautéed chicken in place of the shrimp.