Pesto brings back so many summer memories from my childhood. Grandma Schilter taught me how to pick the basil so I wouldn’t uproot the plant. Our fingers would stain green and had the delicious and fresh aroma of basil. I started making her recipe and now I have modified it to remove dairy and add a variety of different herbs and greens. I like to add kale, arugula, and Italian parsley in addition to the basil. I will also make pesto with just parsley and arugula for the greens. Use what you have on hand to make it easy. I often encourage my patients to eat more green leafy vegetables. These vegetables are rich in calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin K, which are great for bone and muscle health. I will use pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, pecans or cashews depending on the nuts and seeds I have on hand as well. Nuts and seeds are rich in omega 6 fatty acids, Omega 3 fatty acids, found mostly in walnuts, and vitamins and minerals. This recipe is a great way to incorporate more greens into your diet. Dollop it over fresh baked cod, halibut, chicken or tofu. I will also add it to quinoa, rice, or vegetables. I typically quadruple this recipe and will freeze the extra in ice cube trays for later use. Have fun with all the ways you will enjoy pesto.
Yield: 1 cup
1 cup fresh packed basil
1 cup packed arugula, kale (stems removed) or Italian parsley (stems removed)
1/3 cup walnuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 large cloves garlic
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- In a food processor or high powered blender, pulse the walnuts, garlic and greens until coarsely chopped.
- Add the lemon juice then slowly add the the olive oil in a thin stream while the food processor or blender is on. Scrape the sides of the processor occasionally until the pesto is evenly blended.
- Sprinkle the salt and fresh ground pepper in the pesto to taste.