RECIPES SAUCES, DIPS & DRESSINGS SPRING SUMMER VEGETARIAN

HOW TO MAKE ANY PESTO WITHOUT A RECIPE

“Pesto” means “paste” not “basil, pine nut, garlic, parmesan paste”, but just paste. This is an invitation to experiment with the freshest herbs and ingredients you have on hand. The result will be incredibly good.

When trying out a new recipe, try a single ingredient from each category below. As you start to get comfortable with the desired texture and flavor, you might want to experiment with more than one type of green (garlic scape and cilantro / parsley and arugula).

Ingredients

GREENS

QUANTITY: A medium / large single bunch of herbs, or tender greens (About 3 cups rough chop) 

Cilantro
Parsley
Basil
Wild garlic (more subtle)
Garlic scapes (extra strong)
Spinach
Watercress
Arugula
Carrot tops
Beet greens
Radish greens
Turnip greens

Are we missing some? Please tell us in the comments! We’d love to hear what you’ve tried.

Start with the low end of each of the measurements below and adjust as you go along. Typically pestos take a good deal more oil than you would imagine, don’t skimp. The oil carries the flavor of the finished pesto as well as preserving it when stored in the fridge.

NUTS / OILY SEEDS

QUANTITY: 1/2 cup  – 1 cup
All of these should be roasted, not raw

Pine nuts
Hazelnuts
Walnuts
Pistachios
Macadamia Nuts
Cashews
Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin seeds

 

OIL

QUANTITY: 1/2 cup – 1 cup
Use a nicely flavored oil, like you would use for finishing a dish or in a salad dressing

Olive Oil – always a good choice
Walnut Oil
Pistachio Oil
Avocado Oil

GARLIC

QUANTITY: 4 – 8 cloves
Skip for pestos made of garlic scapes or wild garlic, obviously

CHEESE & SALT

QUANTITY: Cheese: 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup grated cheese. These are listed together as they are highly dependent on one another. More cheese = less salt.  
Salt needs change based on herb, cheese, and nuts.  

For the cheese, use harder varieties:

Grana Padano
Parmesano Reggiano
Romano
Ricotta Salata

Want a vegan version? Of course you can skip the cheese. You’ll need a little more salt, and might want to increase the nuts as the cheese adds a deeper flavor as well as a bit of mellowing volume to the pesto.

Directions

Add the lower amount of all ingredients except cheese and salt to a food processor and process until a paste texture. Add more oil as needed for texture of a loose paste. Taste the pesto and add nuts, cheese and/or salt to taste.  

Storage

Store in glass, covered jars in the fridge. Having a small pool of oil on top of the pesto helps to preserve it, allowing it to last several weeks refrigerated. When using pesto, pour off and reserve any oil at the top, use the pesto, then replace the oil before refrigerating again. You can also top off with a little olive oil.  

 

1 Comment

Click here to post a comment

Subscribe for the latest

Fresh updates, free delivery!