Simple & Satisfying

GOING GREEN:   Pesto with a Twist…………of lemon

This is the time of year where I really make an effort to grow fresh herbs and keep them alive for as long as possible.  So far so good except for Cilantro.  For some reason I don’t seem to have a handle on that one so if you have any good tips please share them with me.  The only herbs that  seem to survive throughout the wet cold winter months is rosemary, mint & chives.

There’s so many variations on the recipe below but if you’ve never made homemade pesto this is the classic version with a few touches of my own thrown in.  It’s so easy to make & delicious tossed over freshly cooked pasta or a topper for fish or chicken.

As a main with sockeye salmon

2          cups of fresh Basil leaves, firmly packed including tender stems

2-4       garlic cloves

½         cup of pine nuts (lightly toasted)

½         cup of grated best quality parmesan cheese

½         cup of organic olive oil

½         tsp. chilli flakes

juice & zest of 1 lemon

kosher salt & pepper to taste

Lightly toast the pinenuts (if need be) in a dry skillet for about a minute.

Chop garlic in food processor or blender.  Add basil, pine nuts, cheese, lemon, chilli flakes and blend.  Pour in oil and when mixture turns to a rough paste you’re done.  Stir in salt & pepper.  Makes about 1 cup.  See below for other variations.

My old faithful Braun

I’ve been using the same food processor that my parents bought me over 20 years ago.  At that time they cost hundreds of dollars.  I’ll probably be using it for the next 20 – works like a charm.

My go-to oils – mix them all together to get varied flavor.




In photo: Sicilian, Spanish with preserved lemon, garlic, chives & red pepper and a mushroom/sage bought from the Vancouver Olive Oil Company.






Here are some other equally delicious variations:

You might want to try adding sundried tomatoes to the mix.

Pinenuts are expensive now so you can substitute using walnuts (which are low in cholesterol) if you want.

If you prefer you can use asiago or pecorino cheese instead of parmesan or even a mix of each for an interesting flavour.

You can switch up the Basil for Arugula or try it the next time around.

You can also substitute 1 cup of basil for 1 cup of other mixed herbs such as parsley, oregano, sage, marjoram and thyme (mix them all).

You can make a black olive pesto using what else – pitted black olives.  One cup of olives and less herbs – a Tbsp. each of basil, oregano, thyme & rosemary.

You can get pretty creative with making pesto.  Soon you’ll come up with your own favourite version so experiment & ENJOY!

As a side with salmon & salad

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