Garden to Table: Quick & Easy Pesto Sauce Recipe

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I don’t know about you, but I love a quick and easy dinner that is healthy!  Today, I thought I would share with you one of my tried and true family faves.

Our garden is coming along, and to keep the kids interested (it is their job to water it every day!), we planted half big plants and half seeds.  It has been brilliant!  The kids were happy with the big plants, and now that the seeds have sprouted and are growing, they are still excited about what we are cultivating.

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You can see how big my basil plants have gotten (normally I would have done a little harvest by now – flowering means they are ready!), so I knew it was time to make some pesto!  Basil is a great, fast grower so I usually trim three quarters of the way down and bring the trimmings inside.

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Before I start readying the basil, I place a cup of nuts on a sheet pan in an oven preheated at 325° and roast them for ten minutes.  Note:  I know most pesto recipes call for pine nuts, but let’s face it, pine nuts are pricey!  I have used almonds and even pecans successfully.  Roasting the nuts is not necessary, but I like the flavor it lends, so if I have time, I do it.  If I don’t, the pesto still tastes yummy. 

Pull the leaves off of the basil plant and place in a colander.  (do not use the flowers, they are bitter – I usually just pull off the big leaves)  You need four to five handfuls of basil leaves to make this pesto sauce.

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Since this came from our garden, I rinsed the leaves and squeezed as much water out as I could.

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I don’t have a food processor, so I make my pesto in a regular ‘ole blender, and it works great.  In my blender, I place the basil leaves, the one cup of nuts, a half cup of grated parmesan cheese, two tablespoons of chopped fresh garlic (you can add more or less to your preference, we love garlic at our house!), one teaspoon of ground pepper, and one teaspoon of salt.  Sometimes I squeeze the juice from a lemon to add a zing, yummy!  Take some olive oil and pour it into your processor/blender (I use about a half cup), turn it on, and watch it meld into pesto deliciousness!

Note about olive oil:  When you buy olive oil, make sure it says “First Cold Pressed” on the bottle.  Don’t worry, this doesn’t affect the price, it just means it is processed correctly!  

You may have to stop and stir the sauce to make sure everything blends well, but soon, you will have your yummy pesto!

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Pour it on your favorite pasta and ENJOY!!

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I saved the basil flowers, arranged them in a mason jar, and put them on the table!  Waste not, want not, right?

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Here is the complete recipe.  Pin it, share it, make it, eat it.  Bon appetit!

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I made this last night, and my kids literally gobbled it up, and asked for seconds.

And oh yeah, dessert wasn’t so bad either.

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Written by Grace

2 Responses to “Garden to Table: Quick & Easy Pesto Sauce Recipe”

  1. Erin June 4, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    Looks yummy, and I love the idea of saving the basil stems/flowers/smaller leaves for a vase! I’ll have to remember this – our basil is growing like a weed and has been totally neglected.

    • Grace June 5, 2013 at 8:27 am #

      Erin, it actually looked really organic and pretty, and it smells good, too! xoxo, G