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  • Writer's pictureEmma Tierson

Pesto Sauce

Pesto is one of my all-time favorite summertime recipes.

I'll eat it with just about anything from pasta to sandwiches to salad to right out of the jar. I'm telling you once you make homemade pesto you will never want to go back!

Every year for as long as I can remember, my family has always grown basil. We love to have at least one plant, but the more we grow the more pesto we can have, so some years we grow quite a lot. When I moved out, I decided to carry on that tradition. I love keeping herbs around in the summertime, and basil is my pride and joy. I try not to pick the leaves too often so that they have time to replenish after each use. But that's harder said than done with such a tasty herb! They're also easy to manage because herbs grow well in containers and jars. So they don't need much space. Which is perfect for apartment living!

As far as my pesto recipe goes, it is very simplistic. However, this recipe does require either a food processor, blender, or mortar and pestle. I suppose one could finely chop all of the ingredients and combine them for a relatively similar result, but the sauce would not congeal as well, so it would be a rustic-style pesto.

Traditional pesto ingredients: Basil, Pine Nuts, Garlic Cloves, Parmesan, and Olive Oil. I'm here to tell you that it is okay to mix it up. Personally, I love throwing in some spinach. A lot of times I don't have access to enough fresh basil. Adding some spinach makes the pesto nice and green and to save the flavor I can either add a smaller amount of fresh basil or toss in a jar of dried basil leaves. I've also made numerous substitutes for pine nuts including but not limited to almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds. They all turn out just as tasty as the last. So don't worry if you can't find or don't want to spend money on expensive items like pine nuts or fresh basil. You can still make a delicious pesto!


Pesto Sauce


1 Cup of Basil Leaves (Fresh or a Jar Full of Dried Basil)

1/2c Spinach (Fresh)

1/4 of Nuts or Seeds (Pine, Almond, Walnuts, and Sunflower Seeds etc.)

2-4 Cloves of Garlic

1/4 Cup of Parmesan (Traditional or Vegan)

1/4 - 1 Cup of Olive Oil




If using a food processor,

Put all ingredients in, only use a 1/4 cup of olive oil at this point. Blend together. If it needs more liquid, add a little olive oil at a time until it becomes a proper sauce. Salt and pepper to taste.

If using a mortar and pestle,

Start off with salt, pepper, garlic, and a splash of oil in the mortar. Begin to break down the garlic with the pestle. Once you have gotten a paste, add a little bit of the nuts and basil leaves at a time, adding more oil as needed, once a sauce has formed, add the parmesan. Add more oil if it gets too dry, and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve now, refrigerate for about a week in an airtight container, or freeze.

(This sauce rarely ever lasts long enough to store in my household. We normally eat it all immediately with that night's dinner)

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