This is the first year I’ve had a vegetable garden and my only regret is that I have let so many growing seasons pass me by. It is rewarding, exciting, beautiful, and delicious! Chard, basil, and zucchini have been in full swing for a few weeks now so I’ve been making batches of pesto and either using it throughout the week or freezing it for later. It seems that every time I cut a bunch of basil down, I am rewarded the next day with fully grown and happy plants again. The weather must be just right this year and I am very grateful!
Pesto typically has cheese in it which gives pesto some depth and richness and a certain mouthfeel. As I’ve continued to make this version, though, which is dairy-free, I’ve realized that I actually like it without the cheese. The individual flavors stand out a little bit more, and not in a bad way. I particularly like tasting the richness of the toasted pine nuts which seem to really shine here.
If you’re wondering what to do with a bunch of pesto around, here are a few things that I like to do: Dollop it on eggs; mix it with tuna and chopped tomatoes; add it to sautéed zoodles; spread it on hard boiled eggs; use it to top a burger; or toss it with shrimp or chicken and grilled bell peppers. There are really so many things you can do with it and it always elevates the dish to that next level.
4 cups basil leaves, packed
3 Tbsp. pine nuts, toasted
1 small garlic clove
juice from 1/2 a lemon, about 2 Tbsp.
1/2 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1) Place all of the ingredients, including 1 Tbsp. of olive oil, into the bowl of a food processor. Begin processing and drizzle the additional 3 Tbsp. of oil slowly through the chute, allowing the pesto to come together.
2) Taste and adjust seasonings, adding a little more salt or lemon as needed.