Thursday, August 5, 2010


Making pesto is a summer tradition here at Rational Living since, 1) I always seem to plant too much basil, 2) We love pesto, and 3) Pesto freezes well so you can stock-pile a supply for future use.

This past weekend we made two batches of pesto for the freezer. Here’s the recipe we use:

2 packed cups fresh basil leaves
½ to ¾ cup olive oil
¾ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic
1 TB chopped walnuts*
Salt and pepper, to taste

*Yes, I know pine nuts are traditional in pesto but they are just too expensive for the copious amount of pesto we make. Plus, the walnuts add a nice supply of Omega-3 fatty acids.

1. Make sure your basil leaves are clean (we use a salad spinner for this).
2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender.
3. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.

Next we put tablespoonfuls of pesto into the individual compartments of ice cube trays. Typically, one batch of pesto fills one tray. By freezing the pesto into cubes you can then store the cubes in a zipper-style freezer bag and easily grab whatever amount is needed.

So what do we do with the pesto once thawed? Besides the traditional pasta topper, we’ve been known to:

  • Add it to marinara sauce for a kick.
  • Combine with cream for a different take on Alfredo sauce.
  • Use it as a marinade for chicken and fish.
  • Mix in with ground beef/buffalo for a moist/flavorful burger.
  • Add a few cubes to a traditional potato soup.
  • Use on pizza instead of marinara sauce.
  • Spread on a sandwich in place of mayonnaise.
  • Combine with cream cheese for a tasty cracker and vegetable dip.
Do you have any creative ways that you use pesto?

--Rational Mama


  1. I love your pesto. Your recipe is what I use-- walnuts and all! I've always wanted to freeze pesto, but I'm about the only one who tops pasta this way. I guess now I have other options. Tank you!

  2. Grab some skinless chicken breast fillets. Cut into each one to make a pocket. Spread inside of pocket with pesto and insert a couple of slices of (preferably fresh, buffalo) mozzarella. Secure with cocktail sticks (wooden toothpicks).

    Coat in egg, then in breadcrumbs mixed with grated parmesan.

    Bake with a tiny drizzle of olive oil. Remove sticks. Nom.