5 Pesto Recipes: Basic Basil to Minty Dessert

August 5, 2017lectinfreemama

Aaaah, it’s the end of summer. The cicadas come out, the grass starts to die, and your garden bed is so overgrown with herbs you contemplate taking a weed wacker to the whole thing and calling it a season.

At least that’s the case with mine. Last year I did nothing, and I allowed the herbs to wither and die with the cold weather. Miracle of miracles–like a bison on the Northern Great Plains–they survived the winter. And this year, they’ve positively flourished into bush-sized entities I didn’t know herbs were capable of achieving.

Here are 5 pesto recipes designed to use up those herbs. Feel free to double, triple, or octuple these recipes into whatever amount you need to use. For each recipe, throw all the ingredients into a blender and pulse until smooth. Give it to your friends, your enemies, and your mailman. Store it in bags in the freezer. Whatever you do, don’t let those precious herbs go to waste!

Basil Pesto

The original. The tried and true. This is what everybody thinks of when they think of pesto. You can’t vary from this too much, or the ghosts of 16th century Italians past will come and break your blender. This is a basic, 4-ingredient basil pesto:

  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 ounce parmigiano reggiano

Easy 4-ingredient basil pesto from Lectin Free Mama

Ideas for how to eat it:

  • Over any cooked meat (nothing doesn’t taste better with basil pesto)
  • Basil Pesto Butter: mix 1/4 cup of pesto with 4 tablespoons of butter, spread on veggies
  • Pesto Portobello Pizzas: Preheat broiler; take the stems off Portobello mushrooms, spread with pesto and top with prosciutto and shaved Parmigiano-reggiano; broil for 10 minutes


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Arugula-Thyme Pesto

Arugula has a peppery flavor that pairs well with the savory bite of thyme and pistachios. This is a flavorful, easy twist on traditional pesto.

  • 1 cup loosely packed baby arugula
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup pistachios
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Arugula Thyme Pesto from Lectin Free Mama

Ideas for how to eat it:

  • Over steak or roasted, grilled, or steamed fish
  • Make a salad dressing: mix 1/4 cup pesto with 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar and 2 tablespoons water
  • Spread on a peeled and de-seeded heirloom tomato half; top with feta

Cilantro-Parsley Pesto

I’m not saying I’ve done it (I’ve done it), but a  lot of shoppers mix up cilantro and parsley in the grocery store when they’re in a hurry. But it’s totally fine, because I’m pairing them together here in this fresh, lemony pesto.

  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro
  • 1 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons blanched, sliced almonds
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine two well-known herbs in this cilantro-parsley pesto from Lectin Free Mama.

Ideas for how to eat it:

  • With any Mexican food
  • Make guacamole: mix 2 tablespoons of pesto with 1 avocado, 1/2 chopped onion, a dash of lime juice, and a pinch of salt
  • Mixed in with pressure-cooked black beans and cauliflower rice


Sage Pesto

You’ll be ready for Thanksgiving the second you start to blend this one. The scent of sage is the essence of fall, crisp weather, family, and an oven full of comfort food.

  • 1 cup loosely packed sage leaves
  • 1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Conjure the taste of Thanksgiving with this sage pesto from Lectin Free Mama

Ideas for how to eat it:

  • Over a 20 pound, pasture-raised, oven-roasted Thanksgiving turkey
  • Make a mustard sauce: mix 2 tablespoons pesto with 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • In sweet potatoes: Toss 2 peeled, 1/4 inch disced sweet potatoes with 1/4 cup pesto, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, and salt and pepper to taste on a baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes.


Minty Dessert Pesto

This is an adventurous one! It’s sweet, minty, and fresh–three things you don’t expect with a pesto. But it is delicious and unique and worthy of your extra mint.

  • 1 cup loosely packed mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup blanched, sliced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey

Try this unique dessert mint pesto from Lectin Free Mama.

Ideas for how to eat it:

  • Over lamb–minty sweet pairs well with the spicy flavor of lamb
  • Make a chocolate sauce: Melt 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips; mix in 2 tablespoons of pesto, pour over coconut milk ice cream (I told you this was adventurous)
  • Over grilled peaches: Halve and pit yellow peaches, brush with oil, and grill, cut side down, for 1.5 minutes. Flip and grill 1 minute longer; top with pesto.


Overloaded with summer herbs? Try these 5 easy pesto recipes from Lectin Free Mama

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