Thursday, August 15, 2013


PESTO!!  I love pesto.  Chives and cilantro beat the pants off basil in the list of my personal favorite herbs, but pesto is this magical elixir that goes BEYOND basil to something richer, creamier.... delicious.

For some strange reason Jack does not share my love of pesto, and I'm not going to make a pesto pasta dish just for myself for lunch (too much hassle in the middle of the day) so for the last few years I haven't made or eaten much of it.  Oh, the sadness.  

But my mother-in-law's basil patch has grown waist-high this summer.  It's starting to flower, and has to be cut back.  Pesto is the only thing you can do with literally buckets of basil... unless (GASP) you just THREW IT AWAY.  Noooo!!

A few weeks went by while we discussed what to do with the basil since not only is Jack not a big fan of pesto but we're trying to switch over to a lower-carb diet so pasta is definitely out of the question.  So it really boiled down to is what can pesto be used for OTHER THAN pasta dishes?  

Let me tell you, I found out that pesto can be used for a LOT more than pasta dishes!

Yesterday we got together and made a huge batch of pesto which I'm now loading into ice cube trays to freeze, and I look forward to trying many of these wonderful pesto recipes.  Yum!  

Non-Pasta Uses for Pesto: 

Here are a few from Food Network's list "50 Things to Make With Pesto":
  • Pesto Meatballs: Mix 1 pound ground turkey with 1/2 cup each breadcrumbs and pesto, and 1/4 cup each milk and grated parmesan. Form into small balls. Cook in a nonstick skillet with olive oil, 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Pesto Corn: Grill or steam corn, then brush with Pesto Butter (No. 7). Sprinkle with parmesan.
  • Tuna–White Bean: Cook 1 sliced garlic clove in a skillet with 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 minute. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1 can each drained tuna and white beans, and 1/4 cup pesto. 
  • Pesto Mussels: Saute 4 sliced garlic cloves in a pot with olive oil until golden, 2 minutes. Add 2 pounds mussels and 1 cup white wine; cover and cook until the mussels open, about 4 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons pesto.
  • Pesto Potato Salad: Cook 2 pounds quartered new potatoes in salted boiling water until tender, 10 to 15 minutes; drain and cool slightly. Whisk 1 cup mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons pesto and the juice of 1 lemon; toss with the potatoes and 1 cup diced celery.
  • Pesto Chicken Salad: Whisk 3 tablespoons pesto with 1/4 cup each mayonnaise and sour cream. Stir in 4 cups chopped cooked chicken, 1/2 cup chopped celery and 1/4 cup each chopped red onion, walnuts and crisp bacon.
Here are a few more from The Kitchn's "Summer Flavor: 10 Ways to Use Pesto (Besides Pasta!)" list:
  • Made into Vinaigrette - Thinned with a little more oil or vinegar, we have a quick vinaigrette for summer salads.
  • Cold Grain Salads - Try stirring a spoonful of pesto into your next batch of rice salad.
  • Sauce for Grilled Meats - Pesto goes amazingly well with grilled steak, pork chops, chicken, and even fish.
  • Tossed with Veggies - Instead of butter, use a dab of pesto to garnish your side vegetables.

1 comment:

  1. Super envious. My favorite way to eat basil is in salads. Give me a basil salad and I will demolish that sucker.