Basil Pesto is bursting with the flavors of extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil leaves from my garden, Parmesan cheese for texture and saltiness, lemon juice and zest for a bright note and the unexpected nuttiness of toasted almonds.
When summer is in full swing the sweet aroma of fresh basil fills the air. Basil plants are growing like crazy now and the timing is perfect to make a fresh Basil Pesto Recipe. Our Basil Pesto Recipe is quite typical except that it’s a pesto without pine nuts. I love toasting up sliced almonds for a fresh, and less expensive option, in my pesto recipe. Almonds also contain lots of healthy fats, fiber, magnesium, protein, and vitamin E. Almonds lower blood sugar levels, reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels., not to mention they can also promote weight loss and reduce hunger too! And those are just some of the many reasons why I love to use almonds in my pesto recipe. And, of course, in addition to the unexpected almond, there are the typical pesto ingredients of extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil leaves from my garden, Parmesan cheese for texture and saltiness and lemon juice and zest to lend a bright note.
How To Store Pesto
Pesto can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. It’s best if you cover the surface of the pesto directly with plastic wrap before sealing container. This prevents air from discoloring the pesto. I love using mason jars to store my pesto.
Pesto can also be frozen for up to 2 months. I love to freeze pesto in ice cube trays and then transfer to plastic freezer bags. The ice cube size is great for individual servings or to stir into soups, stews, sauces or salad dressings for extra flavor! Pesto can also be frozen in small containers.
Recipes With Pesto
Have you tried pesto on pizza yet? Grilled Pesto Caprese Naan Pizza made with the flavors of Caprese, the beloved combination of mozzarella, tomato and basil with balsamic vinegar, becomes an easy Meatless Monday meal or fabulous appetizer! The perfect blend of pesto, mozzarella and sundried tomatoes fill every nook and cranny of this baked bread appetizer, Cheesy Pesto Pull-Apart Bread.! Or fire up the grill for Grilled Tuscan Chicken & Kale Pesto. Grill up these Tuscan flavored chicken breasts then top with fresh mozzarella and kale pesto for your al fresco dining enjoyment. Pesto is absolutely wonderful just tossed with hot pasta but just as good in a pasta served warm or chilled with lots of added deliciousness. Make Pesto Florentine Campanelle Pasta and toss pasta with pesto, tomatoes, bocconcini and Parmesan, just 5 ingredients, for a bowl full of fresh summertime flavors! And an absolute favorite recipe of mine, Balsamic Portobellos Caprese will make a pesto lover out of everyone. Portobello mushrooms flavored with a balsamic marinade are grilled and then topped with fresh mozzarella, pesto, campari tomato slices and fresh basil leaves. An easy grilling recipe that’s perfect for Meatless Monday in the summer!
Combine olive oil, lemon juice, basil leaves, almonds, Parmesan, garlic, lemon zest and kosher salt in a blender or food processor. If using a blender, be sure to put the olive oil and lemon juice in first for easy blending. Puree or process until blended.
Toss pesto with hot pasta, or serve over cooked chicken, fish or beef. Also delicious with vegetables, in a pasta salad or potato salad and as a dipping sauce.
Makes 3/4 cup.
*Recipe can be doubled to make 1 ½ cups pesto. Use some today and refrigerate or freeze the rest for another time!