With summer approaching and the weather improving it’s time to start making some summery foods. I love pesto and though the jarred stuff has been good in the past, it doesn’t quite cut it with paleo. Making your own pesto is so easy it’s unbelievable; traditionally it is made with fresh basil leaves, plenty of olive oil, pine nuts and parmesan cheese. The paleo version however simply omits the last ingredient. Simple no? Try it, you won’t go back to store bought!
Preparation to Plate: 12 Minutes
Consume within 4-6 months (see footnote)
You will need to adjust the quantities of everything based on the size of container you have and the amount you want to make; this is not an exact science and should always be done to taste. What you will find is that homemade pesto has a lot more flavour and you will end up using less than you would if you had a jar from the supermarket. Here’s what I used to make my paleo pesto.
All Large & Medium Leaves of 1 Basil Plant, Supermarket Bought
Handful of Blanched Pine Nuts
Lots of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pick all the large and medium sized leaves off of one basil plant, wash and dry these in a salad spinner. Put the basil leaves into a food processor or blender (depending on your quantities).
On top of the basil add a handful of pine nuts and a good amount of extra virgin olive oil. I didn’t measure out an exact amount but I would say that it was a good 3-4 tbsp of olive oil. You will need to add more at the end after blending the ingredients to get a smoother consistency.
Blend the ingredients all together in the food processor/blender for about 10-15 seconds. Add more olive oil (I’d say another 2-3 tbsp) and blitz again for another 10 seconds or so until you have a nice consistency which is what you define as good looking pesto. Add the mixture to a clean dry jar or tub and keep refrigerated. Obviously times and quantities will vary depending on how much you want to make at any one time. Since I’m making it just for me I don’t make a huge quantity in advance but this will last me for a few weeks.
Footnote: Some of you may have been surprised as to how long this can last for. Well the trick is to keep a layer of olive oil covering the entire surface of the pesto, you can just begin to see this on the image above. The layer will create itself after about 30 minutes or so once the ingredients have settled. Keep this layer topped up and it forms an airtight seal on top of the pesto which doesn’t allow germs to grow on; this will keep your pesto fresh for ages though I wouldn’t recommend longer than 6 months at a push. If, however, you like pesto as much as me, you’ll be lucky if a container this size lasts you 2 weeks.
One of my favourite all time breakfasts is Pesto Scrambled Eggs. Very simply scramble 4 eggs and add half to one teaspoon of paleo pesto into the saucepan, once the eggs are cooked to your own personal preference (I like mine pretty runny). Serve with a side of vegetables or however you like your eggs for a Punchy Paleo Pesto Breakfast.
Add to spaghetti squash to make Paleo Pasta & Pesto, recommended to serve with an additional scattering of pine nuts and drizzle of olive oil. Perfect for a summer evening.