I went to the grocery store the other day to pick up some pesto sauce and came home with all the raw ingredients to make my own instead. Most of the prepared pesto sauces I looked at had so many ingredients, some questionable, but the pesto I am used to has only a few ingredients. So I simplified my life and my food by grabbing just a few ingredients and ended up spending less than five minutes whipping up my own sauce. Pesto is so easy to make that I am not even sure why I contemplated buying prepared pesto to begin with. Well, I assure you that once you do the same you will never go back to prepared pesto again.
Makes 4 servings (2 Tablespoons per serving)
1 garlic clove
3 tablespoons pine nuts
3 big handfuls of fresh basil leaves (around 3 cups)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt and pepper to taste
In a food processor, blend together garlic and pine nuts. Add in remaining ingredients and blend.
Nutritional facts per serving (2 Tablespoons per serving): 164 calories, 16 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 97 mg sodium, 1.8 g total carbohydrates, 0.5 g fiber, 4 g protein
Nutrition Note: Pesto is relatively high in calories and fat compared to other sauces so you will need to be cautious of portions but don’t confuse those numbers with unhealthiness. Any recipe made me fresh high quality ingredients is going to be healthy for you. Just don’t over do it and allow your taste buds to explore the flavors of fresh simple foods.
Uses for Pesto:
This aromatic sauce has many more uses than just tosses with pasta (even though extremely delicious). Here are some ways you might enjoy using pesto in your kitchen:
-Toss with lightly steamed vegetables
-Stir into mashed potatoes or fold into potato salad
-Spread onto a sandwich for an easy gourmet-style pesto turkey sandwich or chicken pesto wrap
-Use in place or in addition to red sauce on your pizza
-Dolloped on soup
-Whisk into scrambled eggs or serve with an omelet
-Spread on portobello mushrooms and top with tomato and cheese for a pesto portobello pizza (this recipe is absolutely fabulous – I made it the same day I made the pesto and will post it soon)
Homemade pesto stores well in an air-tight container for a week in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer. Cover your pesto with a thin layer of olive oil or plastic wrap to keep the fresh pesto from oxidizing and turning brown. As with any recipe feel free to play around with ingredients and portions to create a pesto sauce that is tailored to your taste buds.