How-To: Basil Pesto (with cashews and lemon)

11 Oct

Basil is probably the most classic pesto ingredient you can come by. Earlier this Summer, I was planning the menu for my second camping trip of the season and debating whether I should buy prepared pesto or make my own.

You see, on a previous camping trip, my friend and I had discovered that sautéing kale, swiss chard, broccoli, beet greens or any other of our favourite greens was super delicious and quick. Pesto turned out to be an excellent and versatile ingredient to include in the cooler.

I was short on time and thought, “Oh, I’ll just buy some.” Off to the farmers’ market I went, but instead of buying a 125 ml jar for $7, I walked away with $15 worth of basil (about 1/3 of a clear garbage bag full). Needless to say, I made a lot of pesto for much less than I would’ve bought it for!

Basil, Cashew and Lemon Pesto

2 cups (packed) fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup cashews
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
2/3 cup olive oil (add a little more or less, depending on the consistency you’re going for)
salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients except olive oil and pulse until smooth. With the machine on, drizzle in olive oil until you’ve reached your desired consistency. Divide into 250 ml containers and freeze for up to 3 months or refrigerate for up to 7 days.

Pine nuts are typical in a classic pesto, but I like to mix it up with any type of nuts I have on hand.
Arugula, spinach, cilantro, parsley or canned artichokes can be substituted for basil.
Omit the Parmesan for a vegan version.

Happy cooking!

3 Responses to “How-To: Basil Pesto (with cashews and lemon)”

  1. Janelle Baker October 11, 2011 at 1:37 PM #

    Looks amazing!

  2. Rai October 12, 2011 at 12:09 AM #

    Ooo, this looks really good. I really want to grow my own basil plant.

  3. Shirley April 18, 2012 at 7:42 PM #

    Try mustard green this summer for a surprisingly pleasant kick in flavour!

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