Simple Basil Walnut Pesto

Fresh herbs just scream SUMMER to me. They are a picture of health and vibrancy all dressed in green beauty.

I love using fresh herbs in all kinds of recipes because they add a ton of flavor and health benefits to your food, without adding unwanted fat and calories. Plus when I make something with fresh herbs I just feel energized, like I’ve done a good thing for my body.

Not sure if it is because of my Italian family heritage, but my favorite fresh herb is basil. It is good in and with everything. Seriously. I once had a Dark Chocolate Basil Truffle at this place…and it knocked my socks off. If you are ever in Milwaukee, go there.

Basil chalks up a TON of health benefits. Did you know that basil has anti-inflammatory properties? Me neither!
Also in this article, I read the following:

“Both fresh basil and basil oil have strong antibacterial capabilities. In fact, basil has been shown to stop the growth of many bacteria, even some that had grown resistant to other antibiotics. Basil can be applied to wounds to help prevent bacterial infections. Also, by adding basil oil to your salad dressings, you can help ensure your vegetables are safe to eat.”

Totally awesome right?! I think I need to find me some basil oil stat.

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Right now I have a basil surplus happening in my herb garden, and I thought what better way to reap some incredible health benefits and eat something delicious by making homemade pesto.

Typical pesto recipes will include pine nuts, but I didn’t have any. So I created this simple pesto with walnuts, that is easy to make and tastes garlicy (is that a word?), fresh, and delicious.

Basil Walnut Pesto

Here’s whatcha’ need:
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1/4 c. walnut halves, unsalted
3 Tbsp. romano cheese, grated
3 handfuls fresh basil leaves
Sea salt to taste

Wash your basil, and peel your garlic cloves.

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Start your food processor blade running and drop in your garlic cloves, and walnuts, through the shoot on the top. Blend until well chopped. Stop the  processor and add the rest of your ingredients.

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Blend, scraping down the sides few times until the pesto is smooth or to your desired consistency. If it seems thick you can add water, but add it SLOWLY…you don’t want your pesto to get runny. It should be a paste-like consistency. Add salt to taste, and store in the refrigerator.

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*Helpful tip: Your pesto will get brown on the top as it sits in the fridge. That does not mean it has gone bad. You can still use the brown stuff, or if it grosses you out just skim off the brown and there will be bright green right underneath.

There are many uses for pesto. It is tasty stirred into hot, cooked pasta or as a sandwich spread. Pesto grilled cheese and tomato…yum. I’ve included some other amazing looking pesto recipes to give you some ideas. Now go hit up that friend that has a bunch of basil growing in her garden and make some pesto.

Other delicious looking pesto recipes:
Creamy Avocado Basil Pesto from Ashley at Edible Perspective
FIVE Herb Pesto – 101 Cookbooks
Pesto Quiche – from Neverhomemaker
Grilled Pesto & Goat Cheese Pizza – from Jenna @ Eat Live Run

What is your favorite fresh herb? Why?

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