This week I am craving pesto! Actually I have been craving pesto for weeks now making it like no body’s biz-naz. Which I am totally ok with and thought you guys would be too after I share some of the many pesto recipes I have been making all this week.
(Yes, if you guessed it that this week is a pesto theme week you are right!)
First up, an article I wrote for meal planning/recipe site Food on the Table, all about (you guessed right again) PESTO! So check out my pesto tips, tricks, and facts; along with some great pesto recipes from around the web (located below).
As rich as it is in taste, pesto sauce has a rich and flavorful history. Pesto originated hundreds of years ago in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy, where basil grows wild in the Italian hills. The word pesto means ‘pounded’ referring to the traditional method of making pesto by grinding or ‘pounding’ the ingredients using a marble mortar with a wooden pestle. Today, pesto can easily be made with a variety of ingredients in a food processor or blender.
While pesto is classically made with basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese; preparing homemade pesto is really quite effortless and can be easily adapted. There are many fresh ingredients that can be substituted to make a pesto that will fit your budget, meet your dietary restrictions or use ingredients you already have on hand.
Below are some suggestions on what to use as a substitute for classic pesto ingredients:
Basil: Any leafy green can be substituted for the basil in pesto; try arugula, mint, cilantro, spinach, parsley, kale, or even broccoli.
Pine nuts: Since pine nuts can be expensive and sometimes hard to find, any nut will work as a substitute. Pecans, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, and cashews work well, or for a nut free option use sun flower or pumpkin seeds.
Parmigiano-Reggiano: While the parmesan cheese adds to the unique flavor of pesto, you can leave it out or use a substitute, such as 1-2 tablespoons yeast or almond meal, for a vegan or lactose free sauce.
Additional pesto pointers:
• Pesto can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about a week. Before storing cover the top of the pesto with a thin layer of oil to help prevent it from oxidizing and turning brown.
• Extra pesto can be frozen in ice cube trays and transferred to freezer safe plastic storage containers. When ready to use, simply thaw the frozen pesto in the microwave or on the stove.
• Pesto is extremely versatile and can be tossed with pasta, used as pizza sauce, a spread on sandwiches or even as a dip for veggies or chips.
Looking for some pleasing and powerful pesto recipes? Check out the fab recipes below:
Smashed Chickpea and Pesto Sandwich (Bake Your Day)
Summer Pesto Pasta (Kitchen Concoctions)
Turkey Pesto Meatballs (Lick the Bowl Good)
Penne with Chicken Sausage and Arugula (Kitchen Concoctions)
Italian Goat Cheese and Pesto Torta (The Sister’s Cafe)
Classic Pesto Sauce (Kitchen Concoctions)