Super simple basil pesto recipe that can be used to top pasta or baked whole-grain bread slices.
Keeps for up to 5 days in fridge. You can also spread cooled pesto on top of whipped cream cheese for a tasty cracker of veggie dip!
- 2 cups packed fresh Sweet Basil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped slightly
- 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan
- 2 medium jalapeños, seeds removed, chopped (could sub 1 habanero)
- salt & pepper to taste
- Remove stems from basil, rinse and pat dry. Add basil to a high quality food processor with pine nuts, garlic and jalapeños. Blend well.
- Add 1/2 cup olive oil and blend well into a paste.
- Pour into a bowl and fold in fresh parmesan and the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add a dash of cayenne pepper if you really like spicy!
Serve over warm pasta with a few slices of tomato or olives for a vegetarian dish, or toss with cooked chicken. I always add a little more parmesan on top of mine!
(Note: If the thought of 2 jalapeno scares you, reduce to 1. I have made this with just 1 and it’s extremely palatable and not too spicy.)
My basil comes fresh from my organic garden. I plant it for a natural garden pest repellent, so I always have plenty for this recipe. 2 cups is not a lot considering I have 6 basil plants!
It’s a prolific and hearty herb that super produces leaves all spring and summer. The more you pluck the more it grows.
Just 2 TBSPs of basil contains 6% of your DV vitamin A and 2% vitamin C. It also contains phytonutrients.
And, of course, olive oil contains good heart-healthy fats!
A Few Nutritional Facts about Basil:
“Basil leaves compose of several health benefiting essential oils such as eugenol, citronellol, linalool, citral, limonene and terpineol.
These compounds are known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
- Basil herb contains exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene, vitamin A, cryptoxanthin, lutein and zea-xanthin. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes.” 
- Accessed August 3, 2016. Basil Herb Nutrition facts. www.nutrition-and-you.com