GFGL RECIPE BLOG: Never Say No to the Pesto

By: ALEXIS BLANDINE

What’s green, oily, nutty, and positively delicious? Give up? Basil pesto; the spread of the Gods.  Pesto is one of those ingredients that is completely versatile in the sense that you can put it on a sandwich, some protein source like chicken or fish, on bread, pasta salads, dipped with veggies, or if you’re like me,  a spoon. It’s like that kid in high school that could hang out with the football players between their band practice and holding the National Honor society meeting- it’s a little quirky, beloved, and can easily adapt to any situation and make it its own.
My mom has been making homemade pesto since I can remember, which is why I’m probably a snob when it comes to jarred pesto now. There is nothing comparable to the smell of fresh, green basil, and subtle nutty, salty parmesan cheese. Paired with the pungent lemon juice, the crunchy walnuts, and savory garlic, it’s a recipe that makes you look like a 5 start chef, but secretly you know it took you less than 5 minutes to throw together. Plus, it’s loaded with healthy fats. Most pesto’s use pine nuts as their nut of choice, but I am a huge fan of walnuts-lots of brain power! Walnuts are also cheaper in bulk, so it won’t hurt your budget and they can be used in salads and a variety of other recipes.


Bella Basil Pesto


  • 1 large bunch of basil (about 2 cups)
  • ½- ¾ C olive oil
  • ½ C walnuts (toasted or untoasted)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • juice of 1 lemon (~ ¼ C)
  • ¼ Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • pepper to taste

This pesto is quite simple; all you need is a food processor, and it is really open to whatever you want to make it. Less oil will make a thicker ‘paste’ where as more oil will yield a “sauce”.  Start with a large bunch of basil, making sure just the leaves make it into the bowl- stems add nothing but an unpleasant bite as you go taste the nutty spread and feel like you just bit into a flower bush.

After putting the basil in, pour the lemon juice over the leaves to hinder the unpleasant green pigment change that can occur. Then, put the rest of the ingredients except the oil into the food processor, and put on low speed, slowly drizzling the olive oil in to emulsify the mixture until it all comes together. You may occasionally have to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times and pulse through, but the whole procedure shouldn’t take longer than brushing your teeth (which I suggest after eating this, no one likes to hang around the girl with the crazy, garlic breath-but it’s just sooo good I might just consider embracing that title).

Once done, this pesto can be used right away, or stored in the fridge/freezer. I doubt it will be around long enough to need freezing, but to each their own. I am guilty of throwing it on some pasta with veggies at the last minute to take to a dinner party or BBQ.  You’ll want to be sure to try this one out, because I, personally, make tons of recipes with this pesto, and it’s a great addition to any fresh meal you plan to make this summer.

Let’s talk food-questions and comments are always welcomed!

Sealed with a kiss of Nutella,

Alexis

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Categories: GFGL Recipe Blog, Home, Sections, Your Nutrition

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