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Basil Parsley Pine Nut Parmesan Pesto Recipe

Perfect basil parsley pesto recipe for pasta, sandwiches & dips

Basil Parsley Pine Nut Pesto

This is a lacto-veg pesto recipe. If you don't do dairy, try vegan Basil Pine Nut Pesto or parsley walnut pesto.

I don't know why, but pesto is addictive. Don't say I didn't warn you! Excuse me, I need a hummus pesto sandwich RIGHT NOW!

Total Prep and Cook Time: 45 minutes

16 servings, or 2 cups, which may seem like a lot, but NOT when you have to share!

Nutrition Data, 39 g Serving: 165 Cal, 147 calories from fat, 17g Fat, 2g Carb, 126mg Sodium, 1g Fiber, 3g Protein, low cholesterol, high in Vit K. Estimated glycemic load 0

Pesto Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pine nuts (or walnuts if you'd rather)
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 - 6 cloves peeled chopped garlic (depending on how much you like garlic)
  • 2 cups basil leaves, chopped and packed (6 cups loose leaves)
  • 1 cup parsley leaves, packed (2 cups loose leaves stripped from the stems)
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt (parmesan is salty)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions:

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  1. Heat together 2 Tbsp of the olive oil with the chopped garlic on low in a small frying pan for 10 minutes or until the garlic is transparent and fragrant
  2. Meanwhile, wash and stem the basil and parsley, and shake in a colander to get rid of excess water
  3. Coarsely chop the basil and parsley with a sharp knife or food processor
  4. Squeeze the lemon and strain the juice
  5. Pack 2 cups basil and 1 cup parsley into the blender. Add oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper
  6. Pulse until blended, scraping down the sides as necessary with a rubber spatula. This step will take 10 - 15 minutes, depending on the blender
  7. Using the spatula, scrape out into a bowl or storage container, and add the parmesan cheese (or substitute nutritional yeast)
  8. Vegan Version: Basil Pine Nut Pesto

Perfect Pesto Tips:

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If you don't grow basil, the large amount needed for pesto (the leaves of 2 - 3 full grown plants) can be found at farmers markets, or somebody's garden. For a pesto addict, all basil growers are your best friends.

Fresh herbs, especially basil, aren't Good Keepers - the least time between picking and pestoing, the better.

Mark Bittman, in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, recommends blanching basil leaves by plunging them in boiling water, then immediately in cold water, to preserve the green color of the basil, which oxidizes and turns dark quickly when chopped.

Blanching is a good idea if you want a pure basil pesto. Instead of blanching basil, we add parsley, which maintains it's bright green color.

Purists say you must make pesto in a mortar and pestle for full authentic flavor. Do that if you have the time and patience. I'm not that discriminating, and can't wait that long for my pesto!

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Pine nuts can be very expensive, but much cheaper walnuts work well in pesto. Soak them for a few hours or overnight to soften, and remove the bitter after taste and dark color. Discard the soaking water and rinse.

When you add the pesto to hot pasta, oil the pasta first. You may need to thin the pesto with a bit of the pasta cooking water.

Pesto keeps well tightly covered, in the fridge, for up to a week, and it also freezes well - cover with a thin firm of oil to preserve the color. For a vegan pesto, omit the cheese, and add more nuts.

Good Things to Eat With Your Pesto

Besides being the ideal companion for pasta, pesto has many other uses, such as the hummus pesto sandwich I mentioned, or combined with sour cream as a dip, spread on crackers, thinned with a little oil and lemon as a dressing for salad or steamed veggies, spread on a hot baked potato, as a pizza toppping etc. etc....

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