Fresh pesto. My mouth waters just thinking about it. A noodle’s best friend. I remember discovering pesto as a young adult and using it all the time in my cooking. Buying pesto made me feel grown-up and cultured. I rarely buy pesto now because 1) cost 2) it’s often sold in single use plastic and 3) it is incredibly easy to make at home!
Let’s talk ingredients. Pesto traditionally includes basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and salt. Pine nuts provide us with manganese, which helps maintain stable blood sugar levels and aids digestion of carbohydrates and proteins (aka helps us process all the pasta we eat with the pesto). Pine nuts also pack some serious vitamin power including vitamins K, B1, B2, B3, E, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorus.
I prefer pine nuts to any other nut used in pesto, but you can also use walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, Brazil nuts… the list can go on…
I don’t use parmesan cheese in my pesto usually, unless I’m serving it to guests. I don’t eat much dairy and I find you don’t even miss it in pesto if you have that sweet sweet pine nut flavor. Doing a #whole30? Perfect.
Greens! The #1 way to cut costs and grocery shopping time when making pesto- use the greens you have in your fridge! Spinach starting to look wilty? Did you buy arugula and then not feel like eating tons of it? Trying to up your kale intake but hate the stuff? MAKE PESTO WITH IT. You can always supplement with basil to keep that OG flavor.
And my favorite secret ingredient? AVOCADO. An avocado in pesto makes it oh-so-creamy. See, I told you that you didn’t need dairy. You can use an avocado that is starting to brown, or one that’s not quite ripe. If you add avocado, you can use less oil as well!
Okay, you earned it, here is my foolproof pesto formula:
- Blender OR Food Processor
- Measuring Spoons
- Liquid cup measure
- 6 cups greens, including but not limited to basil, arugula, spinach, cilantro, kale
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 1 avocado (minus skin and pit)
- 1/2 cup Olive or Avocado oil
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1-2 tsp pink sea salt
- 1/2 tsp crushed black pepper
- Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender.
- If the pesto seems dry, add more oil.
- Make sure to taste test your pesto and add more salt/pepper/garlic as desired.
Tell me how you like to serve your pesto!