Do you have a garden that is bursting with fresh herbs? Or are you finding yourself with some random little bundles of green things lingering in your vegetable drawer? Maybe you have some leftover nuts and seeds from your last bulk shopping trip taking up precious space in your pantry?
Or maybe you’re just looking for a new twist on traditional basil pesto?
Well, if you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you need to make my Mixed Herb and Nut Pesto.
This pesto is just as the name implies. It’s a mix of everything and anything. Sure, basil is still the main herb here. But then I throw in whatever else I happen to have on hand. Parsley, oregano and thyme are all awesome. A few sprigs of sage and tarragon also work. And the same principle applies for the nuts and seeds. For this particular batch I used pistachios, walnuts and shelled sunflower seeds (in roughly equal proportions). You could also throw in some pine nuts, almonds or hazelnuts. It’s totally up to you and you can’t really go wrong.
Also, I like to skip the Parmesan cheese. You’re shocked, I know. But a few years ago I started making my pesto without the cheese, and I have to admit that I don’t miss it at all. Especially in this Mixed Herb and Nut Pesto, where there are so many other great flavors going on.
So what should you do with this vibrant Mixed Herb and Nut Pesto? I know I don’t have to tell you all to put this it pasta. But it’s also great as a spread for sandwiches, on pizza or as a coating for grilled chicken and shrimp. Be creative and don’t limit yourself!
- 1/3 cup mixed nuts and seeds (I used pistachios, walnuts and sunflower seeds)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 4 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper
- 1/3-1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- In a dry skillet over medium heat, lightly toast your nuts and seeds until they are just starting to become fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
- In the bowl of your food processor with the blade attachment, pulse together the garlic and the toasted nuts and seeds until a course meal is formed. Add all of the herbs, salt and pepper. Process until finely chopped.
- With your food processor running, gradually stream in the olive oil, blending until well combined. Start with 1/3 of a cup of olive oil and add more as necessary to achieved your preferred consistency. Transfer the pesto to a small bowl. Season with more salt and pepper, if desired.
- Pesto is best when used immediately. But it can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days, or in the freezer for a couple months, if necessary. See my Notes below for storage and freezing tips.
1. If you won't be using the pesto immediately, you can do the following to help prolong it's shelf-life. First, place the pesto in a small container with a seal-able lid. Then drizzle enough extra-virgin olive oil over the top of the pesto to create a thin coating. Next, push a piece of plastic wrap down over the top of the pesto/oil layer so it’s directly touching the top. Seal your container and place it in the refrigerator or freezer. It should last a couple days in the refrigerator, or a couple months in the freezer.
2. I know many people make pesto in the blender. I have never done it, so I can’t recommend it personally. But if you don’t have a food processor, a blender should do the trick.