RECIPE: Basil-walnut pesto

Basil-Walnut Pesto

While we may think of pine nuts as traditional in pesto, walnuts offer the same crunch but with even more health benefits.  You’ll quickly see this recipe isn’t low fat, but it’s all good fat:  the kind of fat that helps lower LDL (so-called bad) cholesterol and protect your heart.  Plus, with walnuts at this price, how could you go wrong?  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups basil leaves, lightly packed
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 medium or ½ large mild onion, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½  cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Put all of it in the blender or food processor and whirl till crushed, in small batches if need be.  Or you could go ‘old school’ and use a mortar and pestle.  It’s great over the pasta of your choice (we like to drizzle a little extra olive oil to finish the presentation, along with a sprig of basil for garnish).

A generous splash of freshly-squeezed lemon juice will add a clean, astringent note to your pesto.

Cook’s note:  this is one of those recipes like potato salad or meatloaf, where precise measurement is less important than adjusting the proportions to your own taste.

Some healthful options to consider:

Going low-carb, or trying to avoid wheat? Spread it over heirloom tomatoes, halved.

Dairy-sensitive?  Skip the cheese (it’s an accent note, not a primary flavor; your result will still taste delicious (you may wish to add a little sea salt to make up for the salt in the cheese).

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