Hi everyone! This week I was fortunate enough to be able to come home to Texas for a few days to spend time with family and friends. When I come home I have to stop at all of my favorite restaurants that I can’t get in North Dakota, so needless to say my tummy is stuffed to the rim with delicious food! My mom and dad have a nice garden in their backyard over flowing with tomatoes, tomatillos, banana peppers, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, jalapenos, green beans, okra, and several herbs and spices – including basil! I love coming home to all of the fresh produce. One thing that my mom likes to do with her basil is make pesto.

Pesto actually means to pound or to crush, which makes sense since pesto was originally made using a mortar to crush and blend all of the flavors together. Since the meaning of pesto of so broad, it can really be anything that is crushed. Typically pesto consists of herbs, olive oil, hard cheese, nuts and garlic.

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Pesto is also full of vitamins and minerals, depending on the herbs used. It also contains heart healthy fats from the olive oil and protein from the nuts and cheese. The fat in the pesto will help absorb fat soluble nutrients so you can get maximum nutrient benefits from your meal. Pesto tastes really good with pasta dishes, but here are a few non-pasta options to enjoy your pesto!

  • For a lower carb option, dice tomatoes and cucumbers and mix in the pesto.
  • Zoodles, or another spiralized veggie noodle, with cherry tomatoes mixed with pesto. Add grilled chicken strips for a full meal!
  • Speaking of chicken, pesto tastes great spread on top of grilled or baked chicken!
  • Mix in with tomato soup.
  • Spread on top of a cracker with a slice of mozzarella cheese for a nice snack or appetizer.
  • Freeze leftover pesto in ice cube trays to have later. These cubes defrost really quickly and can be used for any of the above options or in pasta dishes.

Here is the recipe my mom uses for her pesto. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Perfect Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of fresh basil
  • 2/3 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 pecan halves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Toss all ingredients in a food processor and process until thoroughly combined.
  2. Serve fresh or place in storage container. Enjoy! img_9497

And thank you to Laura Aciano & Ellen Mabry for y’all’s amazing photography skills! 🙂