Pesto has become my beloved assistant in the kitchen this summer. She’s easy to work with, always up for a change and never fails me. Once you master the simple art of homemade pesto you’re on your way to being able to create a bowlful of goodness from an assortment of summer vegetables plus a starch of your choosing like potatoes, pasta, quinoa or farro.
I love making pesto because I can throw almost any fresh herb and a variety of nuts into the food processor with a little olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper and it always turns out amazing. And recently I’ve discovered that instead of Parmesan you can use a mild miso. Miso gives pesto the same cheesy flavor and is a great option for those avoiding dairy. Plus miso is full of good bacteria, which we all need more of for healthy digestion.
Besides tasting amazing pesto packs a mean health punch. Did you know fresh herbs are a potent antioxidant? A tablespoon of basil has as much nutrients as a whole apple, and none of the sugar. Plus you’ll benefit from the heart-healthy olive oil, immune-boosting garlic and omega-3 loaded nuts. This is serious brain-power food!
My go-to is Pistachio Pesto, but have fun experimenting with other nuts and herbs.
Recipe for Pistachio Pesto
- ¾ cup pistachios, shelled
- 1 cup basil leaves, packed
- 1 cup arugula, packed
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh squeezed
- 1 teaspoon mild miso, yellow or white
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- Pulse pistachios in food processor until fine and set aside.
- Pulse garlic, basil and arugula in food processor until finely chopped.
- Add chopped pistachios, lemon juice, miso, olive oil, salt and pepper and pulse again until thoroughly combined.
- Place pesto in mason jar until ready to use.
For pesto pasta salad combine homemade pesto with cooked, chilled pasta and your favorite seasonal chopped vegetables. Top with shredded Parmesan. So good I’m making another batch right now to take camping on Mount Hood this Labor Day!
Due to my regular pesto-making this summer my poor basil plant never has the chance to rebound…