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Have any unusual pesto recipes? Here's mine.

I conjured up a delicious pesto this morning. Thought I'd share, and I hope you all contribute some interesting recipes too!

Lemony Basil Pesto

4oz package of basil, stems removed (yields about 4 cups of leaves)
zest of one lemon
juice of two lemons
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup walnut pieces
5 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Combine everything in the blender (my KitchenAid whirred this up in a snap, but if you run into trouble, push the ingredients down with a spatula between pulses until blended).

I know this blend-it-all-and-you're-done method is less than traditional. but so are the ingredients! Enjoy =).

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  1. A light version of pesto I made once from a recipe in the Wine Lover's Cookbook called for pees instead of nuts, and it worked very well.

    Another fun switch is to use sorrel instead of the traditional basil. It makes a great addition to salmon.

    1 Reply
    1. re: katalina

      Arugula pesto is my personal fav. Toasted pinenuts with garlic, lots of arugula, evoo and salt and pepper (no cheese).
      Great on grilled fish, shrimp, pasta salad, grilled chicken BLT's......
      Limited only by your imagination

    2. Marjoram pesto - has a lovely floral-green flavour which is so light and summery to me...

      1 part marjoram to 1 part celery leaves to 2 parts parsley. A little garlic, lemon zest, toasted hazelnuts, and of course, olive oil. I also like to add just a tablespoonful of homemade tomato pasta sauce (there's always some lurking in the fridge) because the marjoram goes so well with tomato.

      I'm about to try a walnut pesto recipe which only uses green leaves (parsley) for garnish, rather than an integral part of the pesto.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Gooseberry

        Celery leaves, that's just too cool. Do you use them [raw] in any other recipes?

        1. re: operagirl

          No, just in pestos. It gives good green bulk (pesto always seems to make such a small quantity out of such a large bunch of herbs!) but also, a crisp green flavour - herbs tend to be aromatic rather than sharply, zingily green to me (at least in pestos). BUT a friend did tell me that he folds chopped celery leaves into hot mashed potatoes. They just barely wilt, and the heat of the potatoes releases their aroma. He said it was refreshing. I'm going to try this next time I make mashed potatoes.

          Other than that, celery leaves are often sold very cheaply here under the name 'soup celery'. I guess it adds a nice, nutritious green element to basic veg soups. Have not tried this either, though.

      2. Had a gnocchi dish at Red Sky restaurant in Southwest Harbor, Maine, a few nights ago that had a fiddlehead fern pesto sauce -- very yummy!

        1. Operagirl, Not a pesto, but here is an amazingly refreshing drink: Crush basil leaves in the bottom of an ice tea glass and then fill with ice and lemonade. It rocks.

          1. I often sub spinach when I can't get my hands on good basil. When I make it this way I find that adding lemon jucie and zest is a much to punch up the flavor. I have a recipe somewhere....just can't put my finger on where it is.

            1. I made some last night with a cup of basil, about a 1/4 cup of oregano, 1/3 cup of Italian parsley, 1/4 cup of walnuts, some salt and pepper and about 1/2 cup of olive oil. I then added some lemon juice and tossed with chunks of French feta, and served with grilled lamb sirloin kabobs. The Lucques recipe called for salsa verde and the feta, but I'd forgotten to buy mint and needed to use up the basil, so came up with this instead - quite tasty.

              1 Reply
              1. re: MMRuth

                You can use ricotta or tofu for a smoother pesto.

              2. The recipe that comes with my CSA box calls for pea shoots instead of basil. I haven't tried it yet (probably will this week), but it sounds great.


                1. One of the best pesto's I've had was a mushroom pesto. It's a Giada recipe and available on www.foodnetwork.com. Havn't tried but saw a recipe on epicurious for carrot soup with dill pesto.

                  1. Has any one tried Cilantro and Mint Pesto? It is great with red meat.
                    I also made one recently with basil, cilantro and parsley. It made a yummy pasta salad.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: cheftori

                      i've made a mint only pesto, using toasted almonds, some lemon juice, and garlic. it came out wonderful. i used it as a sauce for lamb, but i think it would be really interesting and refreshing with pasta (and maybe some lamb sausage?)

                      i bet a cilantro only pesto would be great too.

                      here's my mint pesto story:


                    2. Substitute parsley and walnuts for basil and pinenuts in your regular pesto recipe. It's not as refined as regular pesto, but I like it because it's a bit spicier and a LOT cheaper.