I’m pretty sure basil is my favorite herb. There’s just something about it: the smell, the taste, the way you can put it in basically anything…I really should buy a plant of my own. But in the meantime bunches of basil are pretty cheap right now at farmer’s markets because they’re in season (for some reason, in my experience, herbs are generally more expensive in grocery stores). And bunches of basil are great for making  pesto.

Most pestos you buy at stores or restaurants are made with basil, garlic, pine nuts, cheese, and salt. For obvious reasons it’s next to impossible for me to buy this delicious sauce ready-made. So home-made and substitution it is!


2 cups fresh basil leaves

2/3 cup fresh parsley leaves

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

1/2 to 2/3 cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic

salt to taste

You can grind the ingredients with a mortar and pestle, or use a blender or food processor. I used a blender and added the bunches of herbs a little at a time. If you’re making this pesto for a larger group of people (I’m thinking 5+), you should think about doubling the recipe or adding more herbs. In this case, a lot goes only a little way.

You can put pesto on pasta, serve as a spread for crackers or bread, or put it on baked tomatoes, sliced beef, or boiled potatoes. I added mine to brown rice spaghetti. You can also freeze left-over pesto for the future.

As you may have noticed, there aren’t any pine nuts in this recipe. I try to be nut-free as much as possible. And anyway, this pesto tastes great without them!

Actually, since this “pesto” doesn’t contain the customary pine nuts or hard cheese (like Parmesan or Pecorino), I guess this is technically a recipe for pistou, a traditional French sauce from the Provence region of France. Pistou is a cold sauce made from basil, garlic, and olive oil; it can be eaten with pasta or bread, but is often added to the Provençal dish Soupe au Pistou, a summer vegetable minestrone.


Tags: , ,

Categories: Main dish, Sauce


Became a voracious, unapologetic bookworm in 4th grade after reading the first three Harry Potter books. Have a thing for dystopias, young adult novels, classic literature and funny memoirs (re: Mindy Kaling / Tina Fey). English and journalism geek, media and pop culture critic, food writer and blogger, editor of an entertainment magazine. Hobbies include: my Netflix account, cooking, gardening, music, art and hiking.


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