NPR logo Herb Pesto


Herb Pesto

Pesto — or a pestolike sauce — is an ideal CSA recipe. It can be made traditionally with basil leaves and pine nuts, or with almonds and parsley, or even with walnuts and mint. What follows is a base recipe that can be modified according to what you have on hand. Serve stirred into pasta or swirled into soups.

Makes about 1 1⁄2 cups

4 tablespoons pine nuts (almonds or walnuts)

4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

2 to 3 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves (or other herb)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

3 tablespoons lemon juice plus 1 tablespoon lemon zest


In a food processor, combine the pine nuts and chopped garlic. Process to chop coarsely. Add about half the basil and process to chop coarsely. Add the remaining basil and olive oil all at once, and process until a thick green sauce forms. Add the lemon juice and zest. If the sauce is too thin, add more basil. If it is too thick, add more olive oil. Salt to taste.

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