We believe it's important to have a few basic types of sauces in your recipe arsenal for quick, throw together meals. Fresh Basil Pesto (nut free, dairy free) is one of those sauces. Fresh, herby, garlicky, and both bright and savory, a good pesto can serve as the perfect topper for fish, chicken, eggs, pasta, and salads or a flavorful spread for sandwiches, pizza dough, or bruschetta. The possibilities are endless, and utterly delicious.
Fresh Basil Pesto is so incredibly easy to make and can be made using primarily dried herbs and spices already found in your pantry. The only exception is one ingredient: fresh basil. This is pretty crucial. If you grow your own basil or buy it long before you plan to use it, you can freeze it until use and still end up with great results. Once you get this basic recipe down you can have fun mixing in different cheeses (asiago, toscano, parm), herbs and spices (thyme, sage, chili flakes), and nuts (pine, walnuts, pistachios), etc.
(This pesto can be whipped together while your little ones supervise, er, play)
Other perks of making your own homemade pesto? The obvious - it is very inexpensive to make. Win! Second win? From start to finish, it only takes 5 minutes to make. Yay! Lastly, this pesto sauce is allergen-friendly (no nuts or cheese) meaning you can share it with everyone you know!
To start, wash your basil:
Next, remove the leaves from the stems and place them in your food processor.
Then, add your herbs and olive oil.
Lastly, pulse away!
Nutrition Notes: Fresh basil is rich in body protective plant compounds known as flavonoids, which support healthy blood vessels, fight oxidation of cells and free radicals, and have been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties. Basil also contains good sources of vitamins A (immune system and skin health), K (blood health), and dietary fiber (gut-friendly). Raw garlic also contains its own range of potent phytochemical compounds, including allicin, alliin and ajoene, which are most bioavailable when chopped or crushed and eaten raw. Vampires beware!
Fresh Basil Pesto
- 1 large bunch fresh basil (approximately 4 oz.)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled can sub with 1-2 tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp dried rosemary
- ¼ tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp dried parsley
- ¼ tsp dried thyme
- 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Wash and drain basil. Remove leaves from stems and place into a food processor.
- Add remaining ingredients and pulse until you reach desired consistency.
- Taste for flavor and adjust seasonings per preference.
- Use immediately or store for 3-5 days unused in the fridge (also freezes well).