My Pesto Manifesto

Why I am writing a pesto manifesto?

As opposed to most manifesto’s, this one is short and sweet.

Next time you grab your favorite pre-made pasta sauce or pesto at the store, check the label. These sauces are not only expensive, but are also chock-full of sugar, salt, or both. A half cup of pre-made pasta sauce can pack in 10 grams of added sugar and 430-480 milligrams of sodium. This equates to 27-41% of the recommended daily added sugar intake and 20-25% of recommended daily salt intake. Sometimes as a society, we forget that pasta sauces or pestos aren’t grown in a jar in the grocery store. We have adapted to the convenience of picking these items up at the grocery, but quite frankly, these are some of the easiest things to make at home…SERIOUSLY…so…easy. Once I got started on my pesto kick, I couldn’t stop. The beauty of making pesto or pasta sauces from scratch is you can add as much or as little salt, fresh ingredients, oil, or spices you desire. I made basil walnut pesto, lemon pistachio pesto, and sun-dried tomato pine nut pesto.

The key to a good pesto:

  • Fresh herbs or leafy greens: basil, oregano, sage, arugula, spinach, etc.
  • Nuts or seeds: Pistachios, pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, etc.
  • Oil: olive oil is the most common (I used extra virgin)
  • Cheese: Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino Fiore Sardo, and Pecorino Romano
  • Other optional add-ins: lemon juice, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, etc.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Mortar-and-pestle or food processor

How to eat pesto:

  • Pasta
  • Artisan bread as a bruschetta
  • Whole grain toast with a poached or fried egg (my fav!)
  • Whole grain crackers
  • Drizzled on roasted vegetables, meat, or fish

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Basil Walnut Pesto

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  • Ingredients:
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
    • 1/2 cup walnuts (I used toasted walnuts to add a nutty flavor)
    • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • juice from half a lemon
    • dash of salt and pepper
  • Directions:
    • Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until smooth.

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Pistachio Lemon Pesto

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  • Ingredients:
    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/3 cup pistachios
    • 3 garlic gloves
    • 1 cup fresh spinach, rinsed and de-stemmed
    • juice from half a lemon (~3 Tbsp.)
    • dash of salt and pepper
  • Directions:
    • Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until desired smoothness.

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Sun-dried Tomato Pine Nut Pesto

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  • Ingredients:
    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes
    • 3/4 cup fresh spinach, rinsed and de-stemmed
    • 1/4 cup pine nuts
    • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • dash of salt and pepper
  • Directions:
    • Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until desired smoothness.

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Enjoy!

-EAW