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Perfect Basil Parsley Pesto (Vegetarian, Vegan)

Perfect Basil Parsley Pesto (Vegetarian, Vegan)

How To Make Your Vegetarian Life Perfect With Pesto

I don't know what it is about pesto that makes it a necessity of life, but once tasted, there you are - addicted! Don't say I didn't warn you.

Excuse me, I'll be back, I need a hummus pesto sandwich RIGHT NOW!

This recipe makes about 2 cups of pesto, which may seem like a lot, but it's never enough, not when you have to share!

Pesto keeps well tightly covered, in the fridge, for up to a week. For a vegan pesto, just omit the cheese, and double the nuts.

Perfect Pesto Ingredients:

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 - 2 cloves peeled garlic (more if you're a garlic freak)

3 cups basil leaves, removed from stems, loosely packed

1 cup parsley leaves, removed from stems, loosely packed

1/4 - 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt

2 Tblsp lemon juice, fresh squeezed

1/2 c Parmesan cheese (optional)


  1. Heat together oil, pine nuts and garlic on low in a small frying pan for 15 - 20 min or until the garlic and nuts are lightly browned
  2. Meanwhile, wash and stem the basil and parsley, and shake in a colander to rid them of excess water
  3. Coarsely chop the basil and parsley together
  4. Squeeze the lemon and strain the juice
  5. Blend oil, nuts, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper on low in a blender until nuts are mostly blended
  6. Add the chopped herbs and pulse until blended, scraping down the sides as necessary. This step will take 10 - 15 minutes, depending on the blender
  7. Scrape out into a plastic container, and add the parmesan cheese (or not)
  8. Vegan Version: Leave out the cheese and double the nuts. OR divide in two, leave one half vegan, and add half the cheese to the rest.

Helpful Hints

Purists claim that one must make pesto in a mortar and pestle for full authentic flavor. Do that if you have the time and patience. I'm not that discriminating, and can't wait that long for my pesto!

If you don't happen to grow your own basil, the large quantity required for pesto (the leaves of 2 - 3 full grown plants) can often be found at farmers markets, or in a friends garden. For a pesto addict, all basil growers are friends.

Fresh herbs, especially basil, aren't Good Keepers - the least time between picking and pestoing, the better

When you add the pesto to hot pasta, use a tablespoon per cup of cooked pasta, and oil the pasta first

Things to Eat With Your Pesto

Pesto has many wonderful uses, such as the pesto-hummus sandwich I mentioned, or combined with a bit of sour cream as a dip, thinned with a little oil as a dressing for salad or steamed veggies.


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