Easy and Frugal Pesto Recipe

I love basil and I love pesto.  Well let me be more specific I love my pesto.  I’m not really all that crazy about store bought pesto.  The last time I bought pesto many years ago I think it was around $4 for a little jar.

I don’t think the Z Man paid $4 for all these basil plants.

Basil 1

And that’s just one of the two planters we had basil plants in.

That’s the thing about growing your own herbs, it can save you a ton of money.

And look at what these little basil plants turned in to, well once they grew up to be big basil plants.

Pesto 2

Pesto 3

But, even making pesto from scratch can get a bit expensive if you use pine nuts like the traditional pesto recipe calls for.

I do not use pine nuts in my pesto, instead I substitute them for cashews and it taste great.

And that’s the thing about making pesto, you can and should make it to your taste.  Make it the way you like it.

Maybe you like more garlic, or more lemon than I do, so adjust it to your taste.

This is what I do to make freezer pesto…

  • Wash and spin dry a huge bunch of basil and stuff it in your food processor with the rest of the ingredients
  • 1 or 2 whole peeled garlic cloves
  • the juice of one lemon
  • 1/3 cup of cashew nuts
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • about a cup of good olive oil (while the food processor blade is running)

You will process the mixture while drizzling the olive oil in the processor until you get the consistency you like.  This is also where the tasting begins to determine if you need more salt, or more lemon, or more anything.

One of our favorite dinners is leftover roasted chicken with pesto and bow tie pasta or a chicken pesto panini sandwich. YUM!

I ended up with 2 full gallon bags of pesto cubes in the freezer from 8 or so basil plants, but that doesn’t count all the caprase salads we’ve had this summer, or the fresh pesto we’ve eaten.

I like to freeze the pesto in ice cube trays then pop them out and store them in freezer bags.  That way I can pull out what I need anytime.  Maybe just 1 cube for sandwiches or pizza or 4 cubes for the chicken pasta dish.  It’s just easier and less chance of waste.

Try growing your own basil and making your own pesto.  It really is worth it.

Till next time,

Lori

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