Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Basil Walnut Pesto (and Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich)

Basil. Basil. Basil. I feel like it's coming out my ears this summer! But don't worry; that's a good thing. We've received a lot of beautiful basil thus far this year with our CSA, but it wasn't until this week that I thought to make pesto with it. Come on, Colleen! Get with the program! We've had such an abundance of basil. Why didn't I think of this earlier??! :)

Anyway, thankfully it dawned on me that I should make some delicious pesto, so I found this great recipe on food.com for basil walnut pesto. I wanted to try making a recipe without the traditional pine nuts, as they can be a bit expensive and I didn't already have pine nuts on hand. However, I did have walnuts on hand (in the freezer, where I store all my cooking and baking nuts!), so this recipe was perfect. It honestly couldn't be any easier either. Just throw all the ingredients in a food processor, and you're good to go!


-2 cups packed basil leaves (2 oz.)
-1/3 cup olive oil
-1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1/2 cup parmesan cheese


Place the first four ingredients (through the garlic) in the food processor. Process until thoroughly combined. Add the cheese, and blend for about 10 seconds more. If desired, add salt and pepper to taste.

The original recipe I followed actually called for optional additions of two tablespoons of softened butter and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. I did not add either. I thought the pesto was plenty flavorful as is, but I'm sure the addition of butter couldn't hurt... I mean, it's butter. ;)

I actually finely chopped the walnuts in the food processor first, and then I added the rest of the ingredients. It was super easy that way!

Finished product!

Can you believe this was my first time making pesto??!

The evening I made this pesto, for dinner I enjoyed a huuuuge salad along side a delicious pesto grilled cheese sandwich! It was such a great way to use some of the pesto. I just spread some pesto on one side of the bread, topped it with cheese, and grilled it up! So yummy.

What are some of your favorite ways to use pesto? I'd love your ideas! I've got some more to use up. ;)

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