Pesto is one of my favorite condiments. I like to toss it with pasta, spread it on a sandwich, or even place a dollop on my eggs. The thing is, its hard to find a good pesto recipe. I always found pesto to be either too oily or too textured. Pesto should be herby, creamy, and most important emulsified. I like this recipe because it is a basic pesto with the addition of avocado. The avocado adds creaminess and works as a binder to keep the emulsification in tact.
Here is the Recipe for Perfect Basil Pesto:
Ingredients Makes about 1 cup
6 cups gently packed basil leaves
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 to 2 garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup smashed avocado
1/4 – 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
Blender or food processor
- Blend half the basil with the nuts, cheese, and garlic: Combine half of the basil with the nuts, cheese, garlic, avocado and salt in a blender or food processor. Blend continuously until the ingredients are finely chopped.
- Blend in the rest of the basil: Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the rest of the basil. Blend until a uniform paste has formed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Stream in the olive oil: With the blender running, stream in the olive oil. Less olive oil will make a paste good for spreading on sandwiches and pizzas; more will make a sauce better for pastas and stirring into soup. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue blending as needed until the olive oil is emulsified into the basil and the pesto looks uniform.
- Taste and adjust: Taste the pesto and add more salt, garlic, nuts, or cheese as needed to taste.
- Store your pesto: Pesto will darken and brown very quickly, but will still be tasty and fresh for several days. For best appearance, use it right away. If storing, store it in the smallest container possible and thoroughly press the pesto to eliminate air pockets. Pour a little olive oil over the surface, cover, and refrigerate for up to a week. Pesto can also be frozen for several months
Here is a few ways to enjoy pesto:
Put on grilled cheese and serve with tomato soup
Put on Bruschetta
Mix some kale pesto into quinoa with cherry tomatoes, scallions, diced red onions, red bell pepper, and drained chick peas for power packed meal
Mix into mac and cheese
Stir into chicken soup
Smear cilantro pesto on a chicken quesadilla
Use instead of mayonnaise on a sandwich
Obviously toss with any pasta and top with parmesan cheese, YUM!
Mix into scrambled eggs
Toss with roasted vegetables
Since this is a #FOTM post, I used basil. Not only is it delicious, but it is one of my favorite herbs. BUT, if you don’t like basil, or want to get creative in the kitchen, just remember this simple formula for pesto.
Veggie, Fruit and/or Herbs + Hard Cheese + Nuts + Olive Oil
Cilantro + Cotija Cheese + Almonds + Lime + EVOO
Fresh Corn Pesto
Sweet Corn + Bacon + Parmesan Cheese + Pine Nuts + Basil + EVOO
Kale + Parmesan Cheese + Walnuts + Basil + EVOO
Beets + Romano Cheese + Pistachios + EVOO
Ramps + Parmesan Cheese + Walnuts + Basil + EVOO
Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
Roasted Red Peppers + Parmesan Cheese + Walnuts + Basil + EVOO
Thyme + Baby Spinach + Parmesan Cheese + Pine Nuts + EVOO