I am not known for my green thumb, but even I have managed a pretty robust herb garden for several summers in a row. Basil, parsley, rosemary, mint, thyme and oregano have miraculously flourished under my neglect, which is awesome! But what to do with all of that fragrant bounty?
One easy way to utilize all that gorgeous green is pesto! And here is a chef's tip- pesto is so much more than just basil. Think mint, pine nuts and feta to complement Greek flavors, cilantro and almond to add flair to an Asian-inspired dish or jalapeño and walnut to add excitement to just about anything! Plus, pesto freezes well, so no pressure to use it all up right away.
Here is a great basic pesto recipe to get your started. Have fun playing with different combinations as your garden surplus provides you new opportunities!
1/4 cup toasted nuts (pine nuts, almonds, pecans or walnuts)
8-10 cloves fresh garlic
4 cups herbs
1 cup fresh spinach leaves (optional, for bright green color)
1 cup good olive oil
3/4 cup grated cheese
1 Tbsp. lemon or lime juice
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
Begin by combining the nuts, garlic and cheese in a food processor until smooth. Add the herbs and spinach and pulse several times. Next, drizzle in the olive oil while the food processor runs, finishing with the lemon/lime juice and seasoning. When storing your pesto, touch the plastic film directly to the surface of the pesto to keep it from oxidizing (browning). Freeze for up to 2 months.
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