The 2 Basil Pesto Recipes Every Cook Needs

Calmful Living’ garden columnist, Barbara Pleasant, offers these two recipes for preserving your fresh basil to enjoy over the months to come. We love the Asian twist bumped up with fresh ginger and sesame seeds. If you don’t grow basil, most farmers’ markets sell it this time of year, and you can get big bags for small bucks. “10 Expert Tips for Growing, Harvesting, Eating and Enjoying Basil!”

By Barbara Pleasant

Traditional Pesto Base
2 cups clean basil leaves, stems removed
½ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Asian Pesto Base
2 cups clean basil leaves, stems removed
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup sesame oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1.  Place half of the basil leaves and all of the other ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped, then add the rest of the basil. Purée until well blended, then freeze in ice-cube trays or muffin tins.

2.  When frozen hard, transfer to freezer-safe containers.

3.  To use your pesto base, thaw as many pieces as you need and mix in freshly chopped garlic and other ingredients.

4.  Traditional pesto needs toasted pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. To pump up the Asian version, add fresh ginger, toasted sesame seeds and a few drops of soy sauce.

bpleasantBarbara Pleasant is not just an expert, she’s passionate about everything garden. She’s the author of four books, including Starter Vegetable Gardens: 24 No-Fail Plans for Small Organic Gardens and is a contributing editor to Mother Earth News and the Herb Companion magazines. Her work has garnered her multiple awards.

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