We make and eat a lot of pesto in our house. We love pesto because it quickly adds flavor and interest to a dish with virtually no time or effort. That’s why we are always adding new pesto recipes to the Essential category of The Capsule Kitchen.
The Secret Ingredient Is Kale
Buying basil to make pesto is pricy, which is why we suggest using a cup of massaged kale as part of the mix. Using the kale means you don’t need as much basil, and yet the pesto loses none of that classic flavor. If you grow basil and have lots to spare, add an extra cup of basil in place of the kale.
How To Use Basil Pesto
There are endless ways to use pesto. We spread it onto pizza bases, stir it into tofu scrambles, dollop it on beans and couscous, and use it to make Vegetable Pasta Pesto almost every week.
A dairy-free alternative to regular pesto
This pesto is so flavorful you don’t need to add Parmesan cheese. But you may want to sprinkle your finished dish with a little Parmesan cheese before serving it.
The great thing about making large quantities of pesto in one kitchen session is that it freezes well. Simply jar up what you want for the fridge and freeze the remaining pesto in small freezer-safe covered containers—I like the little one-cup deli tubs. When you’re ready to thaw the pesto, simply pull it from the freezer and let come to room temperature. It won’t take long, but if you need it fast, microwave it on defrost, a minute at a time, until it’s thawed. And, if you’re tossing it in something hot— pasta, for example— you can add it partially frozen and let the hot dish finish the thawing.
- 1/2 cup each: pine nuts and pecorino Romano cheese (or vegan parmesan cheese)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cups packed basil leaves
- 1 cup massaged kale
- Salt and ground black pepper
- Toast pine nuts in a small skillet over medium-low heat, shaking frequently, until lightly brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a food processor, along with cheese and garlic; process until finely ground. Add oil, basil and kale; process to paste consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings, including salt and pepper to taste. Can be covered and refrigerated a couple of weeks or more.