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Garden’s bounty offers fun with pesto

I don’t know about you guys, but my herb garden is running rampant. Last week, I had so much cilantro, but had no tomatoes to make salsa. I didn’t want the herb to go to waste, so I thought, ‘why not try cilantro pesto?’ Well, I tried it out and the results were amazing. This past weekend I was wondering what to do with all the sage that was growing in the garden as well. I thought, ‘I wonder if sage pesto would taste good?’ Again, it was a good choice.

Traditional pesto consists of basil, pine nuts, parmesan, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. But I like to keep my basil pesto nut-free so I can use in it my recipes freely without having to worry about nut allergies. In the end, pesto can really be made from many different herbs, with nuts or without and always with parmesan cheese, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic.

Pesto is something that can be used in many different ways as well, so it’s always a wonderful ingredient to have on hand and even better when made fresh by your own hands. You can use it to make pasta sauces, salad dressings or even spread on toast if you like. It also works wonders as a rub for poultry and lamb.

Here are a few of the recipes I have had fun with recently; maybe you can try these out or create your own.

 

Cilantro Pesto

 

2 cups cilantro

1/3 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

2 cloves garlic

1/4 tsp black pepper

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 cup olive oil

Sage Pesto

 

1 cup sage, packed

1/4 cup fresh mint

1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 cup olive oil

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 tsp black pepper

Salt to taste

 

Nut-free Basil Pesto

 

2 cups basil

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

2 cloves garlic

1/4 tsp black pepper

Juice of half a lemon

1/4 cup olive oil

 

Add oil, then herbs, and then remaining ingredients to blender and puree until smooth. Will last two weeks in refrigerator, or freeze in small containers for future use.

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