Pesto is an excellent condiment to use to amp up any dish. Warm it up as a sauce on a pizza, pasta, eggs or serve it up at room temperature as a spread for sandwiches or bread or drizzled on a salad or in a soup.
Use what’s available
I call this “grocery store” pesto because it uses basic ingredients from the store and you don’t have to be fussy with the amounts. Basically my strategy is mix and taste until I can’t stop tasting and need to get a piece of baguette to smear it on.
I always start with the garlic because if you drop it in the empty food processor while it’s running, it gets tossed around and chopped into finer pieces. I only start with about two cloves, because I like to eat my pesto raw most of the time and I don’t want that sharp raw garlic flavour to overpower.
Then I fill it with herbs. I normally use one bunch parsley, one bunch dill and whatever basil I can get my hands on. In the summer it’s easy to access fresh basil. In the winter, not so much. One of those little plastic containers with a few stems of basil in them will do the trick for added basil flavour but I would use more if I had some. Not going to lie, I once used a whole potted basil plant from the grocery store in the spring to make this pesto. It was three bucks. Plastic container of basil, also three bucks.
I never measure. Just add everything into the food processor to start, then taste and adjust as you go until you love it.
Once the greens are in, pulse it a few times to make some room. Then add one small bag of ground almonds (about 1/2 cup), 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Run the food processor and drizzle in olive oil through the feeder tube while it’s running. You may have to stop and scrape down the sides and run it again, just to combine everything.
Freeze some for later
This was enough to make about 6 250ml mason jars. Once you fill your jars, add olive oil to cover the top of the pesto to prevent browning and store them in the freezer. I’ve had jars store over a year, but it probably won’t last that long!
Mix up the ingredients
Don’t be afraid to use other leafy greens like kale, arugula, spinach or cilantro. I’ve even tried it with beet greens and celery leaves. Any nut or seed will do. Try pine nuts, walnuts, pepitas or sunflower seeds. You can also brighten up the flavor by adding lemon zest or fresh or dried chilies.
Easy Three Herb Pesto
This pesto is super simple to make and you don't have to be precise on the measurements.
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 bunch (approx. 2 cups) parsley leaves only, washed and dried
- 1 bunch (approx. 2 cups) dill leaves only, washed and dried
- 2 cups basil leaves only, washed and dried
- 1/2 cup ground almonds (or other nut/seed of your choice)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup olive oil
Wash and dry herbs and pull leaves off the stems. Discard stems.
Run the food processor and drop the garlic through the feeder tube to mince.
Add herbs, almonds, cheese, salt & pepper to food processor and run until it forms a paste.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl. run the food processor again, adding olive oil through the feeder tube until desired consistency is achieved.
Taste and adjust ingredients if necessary.
Spoon and pack pesto into 250 ml jars, covering the tops with olive oil, to prevent browning.
Store in the freezer up to one year.