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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an herb garden this year
and my basil is doing so well that I have to find new and exciting ways to use it least it go to waste.

I made some pesto (which uses LOTS of fresh basil) and we had it tossed with whole wheat pasta and it was wonderful, but I have a few questions.

What else I can do with pesto?

How long can I keep in the frig?

How long can I keep in the freezer?

I'm also open to any other ideas using lots and lots basil. (We exhausted the pizza, marinara, lasagna route.)
 

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Pesto is great as the "dressing" for potato salad. It's even nice that way on warm potatoes.

I love to use it as a sandwich spread!

Depending on the ingredients of your pesto (like, if it has cheese or not), I would think that it would last for at least 10 days or so in your fridge, if not longer. I store it in a air tight fridge container with a little piece of saran wrap smooshed on top of it to avoid weird discoloration.

As for lasting in the freezer, I'd say indefinitely. Just before basil season started this year, I used up the last of my frozen pesto from last summer. It was fine.

If you're sick of the Italian theme, remember that basil is great in many Thai dishes. I also like to add the shredded leaves to a green salad for a bit of kick.

Lucky you with all your basil! Mine is really struggling this year.
 

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I'm subscibing because I have two large pots of basil that are doing beautifully. Even though we love the stuff I think we're going to have more fresh basil than we can manage. Homemade pesto sounds tasty! Can you share your recipe?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by *Jessica*
Homemade pesto sounds tasty! Can you share your recipe?
1 cup firmly packed basil leaves
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 to 2 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup oil

Process first 5 ingredients in a blender or food processor until it forms a paste. Then slowly add the oil until it is the consistency of soft butter.

I did it in a blender and it took several off/ons to get it to the right consistancy, but it was very easy.
 

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I love pesto!!

I also use it as a sandwich spread - especially panini!

Use as a base for Pizza (instead of or in addition to red sauce)

Spread on salmon and bake or grill - so good!!!

Spread on chicken and bake or grill

Put inside calzone - I have a recipe for chicken/pesto/mozz calzone that is really yummy and different!

Hmmm...That's all I can think of right now but I know there are more. Yum, yum!!!
 

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I make a wonderful dressing from basil:

lots o' basil
olive oil
balsamic vinegar (preferably white but red will do - white just makes it look prettier)
pine nuts
a pinch of salt

YUM! I pour it over layered salad and it is heaven.
 

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nak
slightly ot
try making the pesto w/different nuts, like walnut, sunflower or (mmm) pistachio! yum

also try adding sliced cherry tomatoes to the pasta

we like sourdough bread drizzled w/ balsamic vin., and spread with goat cheese and pesto.

the first time my dh made pesto, he made it with a lb of DRIED basil!
 

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got two huge bunches of Thai Basil from my produce co-op so I came up with this recipe for a Thai style "pesto". We had it last night over Pad Thai style rice noodles with shrimp and edamame mix. It was delish!

I would imagine this would be excellent with tofu, chicken, or fish as well. Thought perhaps some mamas here might enjoy so I'm sharing it;

Thai Basil Pesto makes about two cups

1/3 cup of organic crunchy peanut butter
1/3 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut (I toasted mine)
4 to 5 cloves garlic
couple tablespoons of roasted red chile paste
couple tablespoons tamari (I used low sodium)

whirl until blended in food processor. scrape bowl.

add 2 to 3 cups thai basil, ( 2 if packed tight or 3 loosely stuffed)

process until blended into a thick paste. with processor running add 1/3 to 2/3 cup coconut milk (I used light coconut milk) through feed tube in a stream until it reaches desired consistency. I made it runnier than Italian pesto because those rice noodles really soak up sauce. I would use less if I used it as a protein topping. Garnish with chopped roasted peanuts and a pinch of shredded coconut.

Yummy!
 

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wow, that sounds amazing!
 

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Snoodess, thank you! That sounds awesome--right up our alley. Now I hope I get more basil in our CSA box this week!

Linda, I second the suggestion of pesto-topped salmon. It's super easy and really good. I also like pesto mayo -- just mix 'em together until it tastes right -- spread on chicken or vegetable sandwiches.

You can also freeze it. It freezes really well and lasts a long time -- through the winter, probably, so you could keep enjoying your basil all year long. I love taking out a container of pesto in the middle of January and having that yummy summery taste again. HTH!

~Nick

eta: homemademama, thank you for the pistachio idea! I have a whole bag of pistachios in my cupboard and no idea what to do with them, as they are unsalted. Pistachio pesto is a great idea. And
at your Dh. What a lot of dried basil that must've been!
 

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I get a ton of basil at our local Farmer's Market and make a big batch of pesto every summer to freeze for the winter. I freeze it in ice cube trays, then pop the frozen cubes out and put them in a freezer bag. One cube per person works well for pasta, although you can always add more, depending on your love of pesto.

One note about freezing pesto: don't add the cheese when you make it - cheese doesn't freeze well. Instead, add it to your defrosted pesto before serving.

My recipe:

2 and 1/2 cups packed basil
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts or walnuts (walnuts are cheaper and taste as good)
1/2 cup grated parmesan or pecorino-romano (pecorino is way cheaper than parmesan. It's not quite the same, but I'm on a budget, and you can get good quality pecorino at Trader Joe)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
salt to taste

Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend till done.

Having a food processor makes making pesto an absolute joy. It is soooo much easier than a blender. You can whip it up while your pasta is cooking, it's so fast.

My frozen pesto lasts all winter long.
 

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I always do mine with the cheese included, and have never had a problem. I am the freezer queen and freeze just about everything, including blocks of cheese -- when frozen in blocks it does get crumbly, but tastes fine and is otherwise just great.


HTH.
 
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