Skip to main content

Our Favorite Basil Pesto Recipe

Basil Pesto Recipe

Just in time for Weekend Herb Blogging at Kalyn's Kitchen, Steve brought home two hefty bunches of fresh California basil from our local organic produce market. A big green treat for mid-February. And since basil lore links the peppery-minty herb with amore, I figured the timing was perfect for pesto.

What better way to celebrate Valentine's Day than with the intoxicating seduction of fresh basil and garlic?

Having your way with pesto...


Sauce it:

Classic pesto is served as a flavorful raw sauce, perfect for cooked pasta in all sizes and shapes.

Slather it:

Pesto is terrific spread on sliced focaccia, gluten-free toast, baked potato skins, or your favorite pizza shell. Steve's favorite pizza recipe: Stir a dollop of pesto on cooked sliced red potatoes; spoon the potatoes on top of a partially baked gluten-free pizza crust and top with crumbled goat cheese . Throw on a handful of sliced ripe olives, some roasted red peppers and feta to add a Greek touch.

Stir it:

Pesto is a wonderful flavor spike for Italian inspired soups. Stir in a spoonful to liven up a minestrone, chunky potato, bean, or garlicky chicken and greens soup. Or float a pesto-slathered crouton in a bowl of fresh tomato bisque.

Spike it:

Options make pesto so individual. Add garlic- or don't. Use pecans, walnuts, almonds or pine nuts. Change out the basil for cilantro or parsley and mint. Add a roasted red pepper or some olives. Pesto can be as varied (and inventive), or as traditional as you make it. And remember, it's wise to taste test and balance the flavors. Have a nibble. Is it a balance of herby- nutty- garlicky- cheesy- salty?


Our Favorite Basil Pesto Recipe


My husband Steve has become the primo pesto maker in the family. Here's his basic recipe.

3 cups washed, fresh basil leaves, stems removed, patted dry
2-4 garlic cloves, peeled- according to taste
1/3-1/2 cup pecans, pine nuts, almonds or walnuts
10 tablespoons fruity extra virgin olive oil, as needed
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, optional- omit for vegan
Pinch of sea salt, if desired

Combine the above ingredients in a food processor and pulse it on and off until it becomes a smooth paste. Taste test for seasoning and texture adjustments.

Use immediately, or cover and chill.

If it becomes stiff add some extra virgin olive oil and stir till smooth.

Pesto will darken if exposed to high heat and will lose its vibrant green color, so don't "cook" pesto in a hot pan or add it to hot pasta in a hot pot; rather, transfer the cooked pasta into a bowl first- then add the pesto and stir gently.

Serve this basil pesto as an appetizer spread on toasted bread, baked artichoke hearts, or triangles of flatbread. Or toss it with warm pasta, roasted potatoes or carrots. Spoon it on toast, croutons, pizza shells or crackers.

To keep the pesto fresh, I layer mine with a thin coat of extra virgin olive oil on the top before I cover and store it in an air-tight container, chilled. Storage isn't usually a concern, as pesto disappears quickly in our house.

Some folks like to freeze pesto in ice cube trays, but I've never had enough extra pesto to set aside.


Karina

TRENDING

Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas

YES PLEASE.  This award winning budget-friendly Santa Fe inspired vegetarian enchilada recipe is one of those happy accidents that springs from a burst of creative imagination. Or rumbling hunger. In that what-have-we-got-in-the-pantry sort of panic. I was craving the soft and spicy comfort of enchiladas one windy spring night back in 2003, and I had none of the usual suspects on hand (no chicken, or beef, no pinto beans).  But! I had one lovely mother of a sweet potato.  A can of organic black beans.  Some roasted green chiles.  One lonely lime.  And your intrepid Mamacita-Goddess at large thought, Hmmm. Why not? Deliciousness ensued. These wrapped little gems are soft and creamy and a little bit spicy- Just like a certain cook , my point-scoring husband wisecracks. It's the yams, I tell him. Er, sweet potato. I can never tell the difference. Can you? In the end, it doesn't matter.  What matters is how it tastes. And darling, these are so mucho scrumptiou

Gluten-Free Baking Tips + Substitutions

Need wheat-free gluten-free baking tips? Help is Here. Here's what works- and what doesn't- in quirky Gluten-Free Baking and Substitution Land. From Karina, Gluten-Free Goddess®. Baking Substitutions for Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free and More Notes on GF Flours: Gluten-free non-wheat flours generally fall into three basic weights- light starch, all-purpose medium, or heavier whole grain. A blend of medium and heavy flours with some starch mixed in to lighten, tenderize, and help bind the batter or dough works best, and tastes best (too much starch can result in a gummy texture). Light, starchy GF flours include sweet rice flour, white rice flour, and the ubiquitous gluten-free starches- tapioca starch, cornstarch, potato starch (NOT potato flour, which is whole different animal) and arrowroot starch. Medium flours are akin to 'all purpose flour'- these include sorghum flour, certified gluten-free oat flour, and superfine brown rice flour. If you cannot find sorg

Gluten-Free Goddess Brownies- The Best

Why bake a gluten-free brownie from scratch and not a mix? While baking mixes are perfectly acceptable in a pinch, and no doubt a boon to busy cooks on a gluten-free diet (well, honestly, who isn't busy, preoccupied, overwhelmed, and anxious these days, I ask you?), your taste buds will tell you why. In a heart beat, Darling. A dark chocolate brownie made from scratch is deeply delicious and decadent. Impressive, even. Company worthy. Dare I say, date night worthy. I'm not kidding. This brownie recipe is swoon inducing. (You know what they say about chocolate.)  But here's the best part. Throwing this recipe together takes only a few minutes longer than opening up a box of mix. In fact, you can whip up these luscious gooey babies in a mere ten minutes. In less time than it takes you to scan your daily dose of cute animals IG feed.  Seriously.  So what is more rewarding? Watching baby donkeys frolic on Instagram or stirring together this rich, tender, dark chocolat

Gluten-Free Goddess Lemon Yogurt Cake

Luscious Lemon Cake So  I've been jonesing for a cake laced with citrus- not too sweet and not too light. A cake with character and heft.  Something akin to a lovely simple cake I remember liking as a child, a store bought bakery cake called Louisiana Ring made by Freihofer's. The cake featured a hint of orange. The day I decided to bake, I did not have oranges in the pantry- but I did have some lemons, organic Greek yogurt, and plenty of blanched almond flour.  And this simple home baked lemon cake was born.  In time for Spring. Love, Karina xo

Gluten-Free Goddess Blueberry Muffins- No Xanthan Gum

Baking Without Xanthan Gum, I Am. When I first set foot on this lonely gluten-free road (it was 2001, remember, pre-gluten-free boon; there was nary a gluten-free bagel or wheat-free blueberry muffin in sight), I wrestled with converting my beloved tried and true wheat flour recipes, gamely baking and tossing too many gluten-free hockey pucks and brick loaves to count. Until I discovered xanthan gum- the weirdo secret ingredient that gave gluten-free batter and dough a hint of that elusive stretchy tenderness that gluten once gifted. Xanthan gum was a find. And it has been a nifty little problem solver for many years. Until it wasn't. After a decade or so of cooking, baking, and eating strictly gluten-free I began to feel- shall we say- less than wonderful after eating something with xanthan gum (or guar gum, or locust bean gum, or carrageenan). Ingredients my grandmother never heard of. Ingredients I never used to eat. Or bake with. I had a gluten-free shakabuk

Gluten-Free Lasagna In a Casserole Style Slow Cooker

Slow Cooker Lasagna As it Should Be. Delicious! And perfect for old fashioned family comfort food. It's been a long time since I flirted with a new kitchen appliance. Truthfully? I barely have room for the few gems I still have, after all these moves. Though I've got more room these days, post apartment living. We're finally in a house. And the days of a kitchen without an oven are in the rearview mirror.  You remember those rental days, right?  In Rental World they don't always give you a full size, actual oven. They might just give you a four burner cooktop. And a rickety microwave.  So what's a gluten-free lasagna craving girl gonna do? Make a mug of chai.  Cruise Amazon.  Because this. A  Crock-Pot Casserole Manual Slow Cooker .   Brilliant. My first lasagna in this new Crock Pot Casserole Slow Cooker Please note: This is NOT a sponsored post.  I assembled this classic family style lasagna at noon today-

Gluten-Free Goddess Coconut Cake

Let. Us. Eat. Cake. Last spring- a year ago- before the Coronavirus knocked us all sideways- my husband's birthday marked another spin around the wheel of time. And yes, I baked a cake. And as I stirred the batter and scooped it into cake pans, I thought about the other cakes I have baked for him. The chocolate cake in our first year of marriage. Children beneath our roof. Blue balloons and candles. The newness of each others' dreams. The shine of our ideas. The belief in what was possible. We've shared twenty-six birthdays now. And the single constant through these twenty-six years is change. Change has woven its intricate design deep inside our marriage, our thirteen different living spaces in seven different states, our evolving work as artists and writers, our sons' own ever-changing lives. There isn't a piece of our life together that has not been burnished by change. I asked my husband what he felt about this birthday, if anything. He said at first