Pesto in a Pinch

Photo Credit:

Recipe by Laura Cipullo, R.D., C.D.E.  *Originally published published in Modern Mom

The Story: For the vegetarians with bold palates, serve up a serious punch of heart-healthy flavor with pesto. This is my husband’s recipe, and as always, I encourage all you moms to get your partners in on the cooking process too. After all, what better way is there to check another meal off your to-do list than by having your spouse make it with the kids?
Ingredients (Makes 1 ¼ cups)

  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 4 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup (1 ½ oz) grated pecorino or Parmesan (or blend both)

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spread the pine nuts on a baking sheet and cook until aromatic and golden brown for 8 to 10 minutes. Stir the nuts frequently to ensure even cooking. Remove from oven and let cool.
Combine the basil, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, and kosher salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until the ingredients are well incorporated, or for about 15 seconds.
Shut off the motor and scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the motor running, slowly add the ½ cup of olive oil through the feed tube. Shut off the motor and scrape the sides of the bowl.
Freeze this base mixture for up to 2 months. Add the cheese after defrosting and mix well on the day you intend to use. If you plan to use the pesto within the next few days, go ahead and add the cheese by pulsing the mixture together until you have a thick paste.
Add to whole-wheat pasta, layer on fish or use as a condiment on a sandwich. Refrigerate the leftovers, in a Pyrex dish with a tight lid.
Quick Tips:

  • Always use whole grains such as whole-wheat pasta rather than white pasta.
  • Frozen vegetables are just as healthy as fresh, if not more.

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