Monday, August 25, 2014

My Poor Man's Pesto: Easy, inexpensive and equally delicious to traditional Pesto

I love August as it is normally the time a year when my garden plants reach maturity and I get the fruits of my labor, literally!!  Two days ago, I went to water  my container plants and the basil was looking so beautiful that I immediately got a Pesto craving. (Pesto is the main reason I grow Basil)

As you may know, traditional pesto can be quite expensive to make and also to buy. The main ingredients like pine nuts and fresh Parmesan cheese are not only pricey but also not  something the majority of households have in their pantry. That is way I created my own "Poor Man's Pesto", not only this is much cheaper to make, it is equally delicious (if not more) and it can easily be done with ingredients you are likely to have at home - so you can satisfy your cravings straight away and not have to wait until the next time you go to the store.

So next time you feel like having a really good pesto, here is what you need:


  • Fresh Basil leaves- enough to fill your whole blender (approx. 5 cups)
  • 2 to 3 cups of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of chopped garlic (store bought or fresh)
  • 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese (like Kraft) 
  • 1 cup of nuts (Pecans and almonds work great!)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 medium size mason jar


Remove basil leaves from their stems and wash thoroughly. Put in a blender. Add the nuts, garlic and cheese and start your blender. 

Slowly, pour the olive oil while the mix blends, you may need 2 or 3 cups depending on the consistency you desire. Stop pouring once it gets to the texture you like. I like my pesto thick and pasty so I use a bit less than 2 cups of oil. If you like it runny, just use more oil.

Stop the blender, taste it and add salt and pepper to taste. Blend, Immediately put the mix in your jar and cover the pesto with a thin layer of olive oil before closing the jar. The pesto oxidizes fast and turns brown if you leave exposed to air. The layer of oil stops this a little. If yours turns brown, don't worry, the taste is unaffected!!

Your pesto is done. You can pour it over pasta, spread on sandwiches, toss it with salads and many more delicious dishes. It will last about 2 weeks in the fridge.

This is how my daughter likes it - with home made Mac & Cheese
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