The basil and many other herbs are coming in hot right now with all the early heat we’ve had here in Wisconsin.

 I’m ready to get a jump start on my pesto making + preserving for the winter. With that being said, Basil isn’t the only herb you can whip up a fresh pesto with.

Let’s talk everything pesto!

There are so many great ways to incorporate pesto into your meals. Pestos are a easy way to incorporate more herbs and greens into your daily diet, not to mention the enhancing flavor factor on your plate. Here are all the ways I utilize my pesto:

  • pasta dishes
  • soups
  • salad dressings
  • marinades
  • grilled veggies
  • sandwiches + wraps
  • Oh my new favorite ~ on a BLT (when I have fresh 🍅 of course)

A delicious easy starter base recipe I often use and tweak I share below.  I often switch out my herbs, nuts, and seeds depending on what I have available and new combos I want to try! I know many like a “solid” recipe to follow so here it is! But I do want to encourage you to venture out and try new combos, it’s pretty hard to screw up a pesto!

  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic (option to roast it first)
  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese  or Pecorino Romano (use nutritional yeast for vegan option)
  • ½ cup organic olive oil
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley (optional)

HERB OPTIONS

Basil, Parsley, Arugula, Fennel Fronds, Mint, Cilantro, Kale

While not technically a herb, peas in Pesto are also tasty!

NUT & SEED OPTIONS

Pine Nuts, Walnuts, Almonds, Pistachios

Sunflower, Sesame, and Pumpkin Seeds

Feeling spicy?

Add a little cumin, pepper flakes, coriander, nutmeg, and a zest of citrus

Final Tips:

  • Roast the nuts or seeds first and cool. 
  • You have the option to roast the garlic first as it tempers the bite.

Here are a few ways to preserve your pesto.

  • Freeze in 4-ounce ball jars
  • Freeze in ice cube trays ( can also do olive oil herb rubs this way, ) and transfer to stasher bags once frozen.

One tip is you can add a thin layer of olive oil after you filled the container of choice with pesto to ensure it stays green.  I’ve never had my pesto turn black in ball jars 🤔. But, if you would rather be safe than sorry it’s a quick step you can add.