The other week, some Botton peeps came over to PLANT for a late-night dinner. One of my friends grows a bunch of basil in her garden so she brought over two huge bags and we went to town making jars of basil pesto. I am totally obsessed with the stuff and I could eat it out of the jar with a spoon if basil wasn’t so darn precious. It makes even the simplest dishes taste amazing.
Since pine nuts are really expensive, I used a mix of toasted cashews, almonds, and walnuts. The recipe is super easy. I just mixed a little of this and that until I got the texture and flavor I wanted. A lot of recipes call for lemon or lime juice, but I skipped that part. I just pulsed everything with my immersion blender, adding handfuls of basil, nuts, and olive oil a little at a time.
Here’s a basic recipe with the estimated measurements:
Vegan Basil Pesto
4 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves3/4 cups toasted nuts (I used a mix of almonds, cashews, walnuts)
2-3 cloves garlic
a few cracks of black pepper
extra virgin olive oil, as needed (at least 1 cup?)
1Tbs lemon juice (optional)
1. In a mixing bowl, first add a handful of basil and generously coat the leaves with olive oil. Doing this first will help the blending process in the beginning. Pulse a few times with the hand-held immersion blender and then add the garlic cloves and some of the nuts and pulse again.
2. Add more basil, several more glugs of olive oil, and nuts, and pulse a few more times. Repeat this until all the ingredients are blended and you have the desired texture.
3. Add some cracked black pepper to taste, and some lemon or lime juice, if using. Mix well.
4. In your clean jar, put a squeeze of olive oil at the bottom and give it a swirl to coat the inside of the jar.
5. Then spoon in the pesto a little at a time, patting it down as you go. Fill it almost to the top and then cover the top with more olive oil, to prevent it from oxidizing too fast. Cover with lid and store in the fridge for up to a week. Add salt when you are using the pesto in cooking, to taste.
There are so many varieties of pesto, even vegan pesto. You can change it up with different nuts, or use a different greens. Anyway, if you haven’t already, you gotta try making homemade pesto. It’s the besto (I’m sorry… I’ll leave now).
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