Basil pesto

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My mil and mom (and maybe most people of their generation) do not waste anything at all. They also do not like to spend money on things unnecessarily. I see so many balconies in and around bur dubai (the area I live in) converted into nicely done mini gardens. Most of them have gardeners who come in to help out with the maintenance of these balcony gardens. We too have a mini garden but the sole gardener for that is my MIL. Our garden by no means looks pretty since the purpose of it is to cultivate (sounds like a highly technical word for a balcony but hey, cultivate it is :)) as many vegetables (mostly the green leafy kinds) as possible. She doesn’t use any fancy manure. Basically, nothing is fancy about the garden excepting the end products such as the below home grown basil pot :). I had bought a basil pot once and she’d planted some stems that was left over and voila – a few weeks after they were all grown and ready for me for yet another batch of yummy basil pesto. I was really happy when I saw these and truth be told, we have never seen such big leaves anywhere in the market. So, we gave a small shout-out to my MIL for always trying to recycle anything possible. And that is a quality I want to learn from the previous generation – Reinvent, reuse & recycle.  Right now, the only R I am capable of is Rejoice when my MIL comes up with a beautiful batch of goodness right from our very own garden :).

4 from 1 vote
Basil pesto
Prep Time
5 mins
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6 tablespoons
  • 1 stacked cup basil leaves (cleaned & de-stemmed)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast for vegan choice
  • 6 nos walnuts
  • 1 no garlic
  • 3 nos whole black pepper corns
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice optional
  1. Roughly chop garlic & walnuts.

  2. Blanch the basil leaves in hot water for 1 minute and drain the water (you will notice the leaves will start to change its colour).

  3. In a mixer jar, add the blanced basil leaves, 1/4c olive oil, 2T parmesan cheese, 6 walnuts, 1 garlic, 2t water, 3 whole black pepper corns, 1/2t lemon juice (optional) and blitz till you get a smooth paste. 

  4. Transfer and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week and in the freezer for atleast up to a month. 

  5. Yummy pesto ready to be added to your toast, pasta or salads! 

Recipe Notes

1. You can use pine nuts/ cashew nuts instead of walnuts.

2. If you like the pesto to be coarse, pulse instead of grind. 

3. If you want the pesto to be spicy, you can add 1/2 green chilli or increase the number of black pepper corn. 

4. If you want, you can use less olive oil & more water (there will be a slight compromise in taste but way healthier). Oil also increases shelf life. 

5. I don’t prefer adding any salt to this. However, if you want you can add just a pinch of salt. 

6. I regularly make pesto now with nutritional yeast and Dinesh is absolutely fine with the taste. For this time I use parm because I am running low on stock with the nutritional yeast and I have some recipes in mind that I want to blog using that. There is no difference in taste, there is a slight difference in colour. Doesn’t turn out this bright. 

7. Over years now, I have realised I prefer my pesto without lemon juice though the standard pesto recipe calls for it. 

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4 Responses

  1. Usha shankar says:

    4 stars
    Can we use tulsi leaves available here

    • Sowmya says:

      It changes the flavour perima. It won’t taste like the regular basil pesto but surely you can. You can also use coriander leaves to make this and tastes amazing.

  2. Priyanka says:

    After having pesto on toast I cannot go back to putting plain butter on my bread… I love this recipe…

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