My family growing up made pesto weekly. We made it for almost every family party and were always known for my mom’s killer pesto! While my mom was pregnant with me she would eat pesto all of the time regardless of the effect it had on her nausea…talk about dedication. So basically, I have been feeding my pesto addiction since utero. This is a claim to fame I am quite happy to share with you.
Pesto is in my top 5 things to eat ever and is basically always the right choice. I am a total fan of store-bought pesto as it does make life easier when pressed for time. However, there is really no flavor competition between store-bought and fresh made pesto. There is just something about the tangy pungency of fresh basil and garlic that makes homemade pesto that much better.
It is also incredibly simple to make at home. So, once you get the basic recipe down, you can get creative with your pesto and change it up however you’d like to.
- about 2.5-3 oz of fresh basil leaves (or if in season grab a couple large handfuls from the garden)
- 2-3 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup or a handful of pine nuts (can replace with other nuts if desired)
- 3 heaping tablespoons of good olive oil (may need more if seems too thick)
- 2-3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast (if you aren’t vegan, use pecorino romano cheese!)
- salt and pepper to taste
I start by toasting my pine nuts in the toaster oven for about 1-2 minutes. The toasted nuts will add an awesome flavor to this pesto and make it even earthier. (***Be sure to check them often because we tend to burn ours about 99% of the time and have to start all over again!)
When the pine nuts are toasted take out a food processor. In the processor, place your fresh basil leaves, toasted nuts, minced garlic, olive oil, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper. Blend until completely smooth. Check your pesto for taste often, if you want more of a “cheesy” flavor than add more nutritional yeast. Or if you find it to be too thick, add more olive oil as needed, especially if using as a sauce on pasta. If you are using this on pizza, avoid adding too much oil as it will make the pizza moist and messy!
Once you do this recipe a few times you will become a bit more confident and comfortable. Then you will start to trust your instincts and taste buds to adjust the ingredients as needed. For now, this is a great place to start and I hope that you can begin to incorporate this into your family dinners. This world could use more pesto people!