I have a confession to make.
I have never made pesto before in life! There I said it.
Every spring I grow my own basil right outside my back door and around this time of year it turns into a magnificent fragrant bush. And yet I have never made pesto... until now. I know shocking isn't it?
I wish someone would have told me sooner what I've been missing out on. There's nothing like fresh pesto with whole grain pasta.
The one thing that got me was how easy it was to make. I always thought it would be some long drawn out process. Boy was I wrong. You basically throw everything into your food processor and presto! ...you have pesto. You probably even have everything you need to make this in your cupboards and pantry already.
This sweet peppery herb has some pretty unique health benefits too...
Nerd alert! It's time for some health facts:
Research has shown that basil has anti-bacterial properties, anti-inflammatory effects, is a very good source of vitamin A & beta-carotene, vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, iron, and is a good source of potassium and vitamin C.
Beta-carotene is a very powerful antioxidant that can be converted by the body into vitamin A. It's usually found in dark orange coloured vegetables and fruits, but is also found in high concentrations in certain leafy greens such as spinach, basil, mustard greens and kale. Remember when your mom told you that you would see in the dark if you eat your carrots; well that may have been a lie to get you to eat your veggetables but there is some truth to it. It is essential for good vision, growth and development, and proper immune system function.
Clean Eating Basil Pesto (makes about 3/4 cup)
- 3 large cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 3 cups fresh basil
- juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- Pulse garlic and walnuts in a food processor until chopped. Add basil, lemon juice, zest, salt and pepper. Continue to pulse until chopped.
- With the food processor running, slowly add the olive oil and blend until smooth. You may need to stop and scrap the sides down a few times.
- Add the Parmigiano and blend until all ingredients are combined.
*Note: This will stay good for up to a week when kept in an air tight container in the refrigerator.
This will be wicked on that whole grain pizza dough I made the other week, recipe here! Panini's, pasta, and pizza OH MY!
The other night when I came home from the gym I tried it as a topper for some chicken that we sauteed up in some olive oil (6 minutes per side on the stove top in a fry pan) it was like gourmet fast food. I think the next time I'll try it in stuffed chicken breast with goat cheese.
FYI. This hardly made a dent in my basil plant.