Think all pesto is made from basil? Think again. The beauty of pesto is its versatility. The greens, the nuts, the cheese, the oil ... all can vary according to your taste, budget, and fresh ingredients on hand. Here are lists of possible ingredients you can use, followed by a recipe as an example of how to use the ingredients proportionally, but that can vary too.
Spinach is an ingredient I often use. For my latest batch, I substituted cilantro for the basil. Talk about pungent! Have fun and let me know what combinations you've developed.
Nuts (toasted or not)
feta (a little bit)
extra virgin olive oil
1 cup basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup spinach leaves, packed
1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1-2 cloves garlic
dash of sea salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil (or more)
2 tablespoons water (optional)
1. In blender or food processor, combine basil, spinach, parsley, cheese, nuts, garlic, and salt. Cover and blend with several on-off pulses, scraping the sides from time to time, until a paste forms.
2. Gradually mix in the oil (and water) and blend or process until reaching consistency of soft butter. Add the salt and optional pepper to taste.
Makes about 3/4 cup. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 days, or put in ice cube trays and freeze.