Pesto is more than a condiment in my kitchen; actually, it is the fifth food group in our house!
It is so satisfying to make a batch of pesto every week and know that it is in the fridge to put on practically everything we eat. It feels so rewarding to top off any meal with a creative, seasonal herbal pesto. Yes, that is right, seasonal pesto. Each season reveals delicious greens and herbs to make the perfect pesto. Summer pesto is always full of basil and parsley!
Lots Of Ways To Eat Pesto
Think of pesto as a big serving of greens! With pesto around, you can get super creative about how to get an extra serving of greens into your meals.
We put pesto on eggs, toss it into bean salads, pasta, soups, and stew. Add a little vinegar to your pesto and turn it into salad dressing. Spread it on pizza instead of tomato sauce, use it as a substitute for mayonnaise on sandwiches or serve your guests’ raw veggies with pesto as the dip!
Our favorite lunch right now is toasted sourdough bread with pesto, tomatoes grilled eggplant and a little goat cheese…Yum…
Food As Medicine
Pesto is a highly medicinal food, filled with several servings of vegetables, loads of antioxidants and a ton of herbal anti-microbial properties.
Check out the medicinal qualities of the herbs in summer herbal pesto:
Basil is an amazing digestive aid, helping you to digest anything else you eat during your meal. Basil is known as the destroyer of phlegm.
When you consider the number of ailments caused by excess phlegm – from allergies to asthma to colds – you begin to understand why adding more basil to your food is a good idea. Eating more basil in the summer and fall helps fend off sinus and bronchial congestion during the winter. When basil is in the season, eat up!
Dandelion Leaf And Flower
Dandelion leaf is high in Vitamins A, C and E. This common weed is an amazing mineral-rich nutrition powerhouse with more nutrients than any veggie in the grocery store. It is one of the most nutrient dense greens that nature has to offer.
Dandelion leaf is loaded with antioxidants, which reduces inflammation and slows the aging process. Dandelion is just good food, it has a bitter flavor that some people aren’t that into, but sneak it into your pesto and nobody even knows they are eating bitter weeds!
Parsley is another super nutritious food, full of Vitamins A and C, iron, calcium and magnesium. It is rich in vitamins, chlorophyll, and flavonoids, making this mild tasting herb an overall tonic. Parsley has an antihistamine reaction, making it a great addition to your pesto to help support you during seasonal allergies and colds.
Chives are in the same family as garlic and boast many of the same healing benefits as onions and garlic. Chives are anti-bacterial and help fight off colds. They also have a cardiovascular tonic action similar to garlic. Chives are also full of super nutrition. They are rich in Vitamin A and C and have high antioxidant content.
Antioxidant herbs help protect your cells from damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. Free radical damage increases with exposure to stress, pesticides, and environmental toxins. So the antioxidant herbs help temper the exposure to life!
Fresh pesto usually lasts in the fridge for about a week. We always eat it before then, but for longer storage of pesto, put it into an ice tray and freeze the pesto. Remove the frozen pesto from the ice tray and store them in a jar in the freezer. You can pull out a few pieces at a time to add to soups and sauces throughout the year.
Summer-Garden Pesto Recipe
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 cup fresh basil
- 1/2 cup fresh dandelion leaf and flower
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup fresh chives green and flower
- 1/2 cup combination of savory garden herbs (sage, lavender, and thyme are good options)
- 1 green/spring onion (both white and green parts)
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 2 teaspoons tamari
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Put olive oil, tamari, garlic, red bell pepper and all herbs, including savory garden herbs into a food processor.
- Blend until you have a smooth paste.
- Add sunflower seeds, Parmesan cheese, and salt and blend again.
- Put into a jar and store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
As always, this recipe is a guideline! Change it up depending on what you like and also, what herbs are fresh in your garden.
I would love to hear how you use your pesto! Leave me a comment below and let me know your favorite way to eat pesto!