There is much to love about pesto. For starters, its fresh, vibrant green color (and anything green is especially welcome right now in New England!) The way it instantly perks up almost any meal. The zippy garlicky kick it provides. And of course, you knew it was coming, its amazing nutritional composition: Pesto is packed with vitamin-rich greens, heart-healthy nuts and olive oil, and immune-supporting raw garlic.
Ready in less than 5 minutes, pesto is simple to make and very adaptable. You can use a variety of greens: basil, kale, spinach, and parsley all work well. The same goes for nuts. While often made with pine nuts, I usually use walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts. As I always say: mix it up. I sometimes skip the Parmesan cheese, as I did here, but feel free to add it in—while delicious either way, there is no denying that Parmesan adds another level of flavor.
- food processor
- 2 cups packed organic Italian leaf parsley
- 2-3 tablespoons pecans
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper to taste
- Add greens, garlic, nuts, and lemon juice to a food processor or blender and pulse until chopped.
- With processor running, drizzle in olive oil. Process until smooth. Add more greens or oil as needed.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pesto will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 5 days.
- Another great idea is to portion it into ice cube trays and freeze it. Once frozen, empty cubes into a resealable plastic bag and keep them in the freezer so that you always have a little flavor boost on hand. (This is also great to do with homemade stock and leftover wine.)
- You can also make pesto into more of a salad dressing by increasing the oil and omitting the nuts. My mom does this in the summer when her garden is overflowing with greens.