Pesto alfresco

In addition to corn and tomatoes, basil is one of my favorite summer ingredients. Tossed in a salad, paired with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella for a caprese salad, on a sandwich for some extra flavor, or even by itself, basil adds a beautiful, bright, and fragrant pop to summer eating, and especially outside eating.  We are so lucky to have access to many great farms, so basil is in abundance in our house all summer long.

Pesto is one of my favorite ways to highlight a variety of different flavors and textures. I make it a variety of ways, and this weekend, I decided to make a simple walnut pesto.

1 large bunch of basil

4-6 cloves of garlic

pinch sea salt

pinch fresh ground black pepper

6 tsp olive oil

handful of walnuts

Basically I just throw everything into the Cuisinart and process until it is a consistency that looks good. Depending on my use for the pesto, I sometimes like to leave it chunky. Other pesto recipes that I make swap walnuts for pine nuts and add fresh parmesan cheese for a nuttier taste. I also sometimes add sundried tomatoes. Everyone makes pesto differently, and I really love mine. A friend went to Liguria last year and brought me a jar as it is a Ligurian speciality. . . and I have to say I like mine better. Is that crazy?! ;)

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How do I use pesto?

  • Tossed with hot whole wheat pasta and green beans and maybe shrimp for some protein
  • Blended with more olive oil and good aged balsamic vinegar for an easy salad dressing
  • Spread on focaccia or other good bakery bread, topped with tomatoes and mozzarella for a delicious no cook sandwich
  • Whipped into an omelet
  • Mixed with mayonnaise as a dip for roasted potatoes
  • As a spread for a hummus and veggie wrap, or mixed into homemade or store bought hummus to jazz it up
  • As a topping for fish or meat, just spread a layer on top of salmon or steak half way through cooking, and let the flavors run down onto the protein
  • Mixed with cream cheese on a multi grain bagel
  • On a panini pressed brie and tomato sandwich.  . . mmmmm
  • Eat it right out of the food processor! :)

Do you like pesto? How do you use it, and do you have any recipe twists?

I had a great run today, and tomorrow’s post will be all about running. I hope you are all doing great and having a good week so far! :)

  1. Alison’s avatar

    I need to make some pesto. Basil is one of the few things in my garden that I haven’t managed to kill. I love pesto and anything with fresh basil.


  2. Lynn (The Actors Diet)’s avatar

    pesto is the besto. all your ways of eating it sound right up my alley.


  3. Andrea@WellnessNotes’s avatar

    I love, love, love pesto. Right now, my favorite pesto is a tomato/basil/almond pesto.


  4. leslie’s avatar

    i love, love pesto. it took me a long time to start eating it again, but now i couldn’t live without it. i never thought of putting it on a salad! smart idea.


  5. Shelly’s avatar

    I’m currently working my way through a batch I made with basil and sun dried tomatoes, but my favorite pesto is made with 2 parts basil, 1 part parsley, and 1 part mint. I’m planning to have some more of my current batch with green beans and sweet potato gnocci tonight.


  6. holly the healthy everythingtarian’s avatar

    ummmm yummmm…pesto is one of my fave things! i am contemplating basil to try growing it – thanks for the recipe!


  7. traveleatlove’s avatar

    I actually did kill my basil :( But my rosemary is out of control. . . and I don’t really know what to do with it other than use it with roast chicken, which its too hot to make at the moment!


  8. traveleatlove’s avatar

    I have never tried adding mint, great idea!


  9. traveleatlove’s avatar

    Yum. . . I need to try almonds next time!


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