When I was living in Ecuador it was hard to come by fresh basil; fresh parsley, however, was abundant! For me and my roommates, this became a staple in our kitchen. This simple recipe is impossible to fail. While it’s a bit too tangy as a substitute for traditional pesto in pasta, you can spread it on bread with cheese, use it to adorn roasted meats, slather it on baked chicken, and add it to sauces and soups for seasoning.
Here’s a great storage tip: fill an ice cube tray with pesto (any kind!) to pop out cubes as needed. Store the tray in a Ziploc bag to prevent freezer burn. To reheat, pop out one or two cubes and add to a small saucepan. When the pesto is melted, stir in 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil per cube.
For a nuttier, more robust pesto you can toast the sunflower seeds first. Place them in a dry pan and toast over medium-high heat until they begin to brown. For a creamier, lighter pesto - add yogurt.
- 6 cups basil leaves
- 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1 lemon, freshly squeezed
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/3 cup sunflower seeds (sub with pumpkin seeds)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon plain yogurt (optional)
- Combine all ingredients to a food processor or a blender.
- Blend into a paste. Adjust olive oil, lemon juice and salt as needed.