Learn how to make basic basil pesto using everyday ingredients by following this recipe. A flavorful pesto recipe plus 2 insanely delicious ways to use it!
Let me ask you a serious question. 😉 What kind of shopper are you? I got this thought as I was on an impromptu errand today. I needed to buy only 2 things. We have a potluck party coming this weekend and I chose to make vegan coconut chocolate ice cream for which I needed to buy coconut milk and cocoa powder. That was my aim when I walked into Target. Now we all know of the 1$-3$ section at Target where they keep all the home and decor stuff. I think it is perfectly placed as that is the first thing you would see when you enter the store. Out of sheer habit, I too decided to roam around in that section for a bit and ended up picking a couple of blog props from there. Then came the women’s clothing section which I didn’t have to pass to get to the grocery section but I very well did! Picked up a couple of outfits all the while telling myself that I DO NOT need any of these, tried them out and tossed them into my cart. My brain was screaming at me and telling me to stop and head to the grocery aisle right away but my heart wanted to explore the home section briefly.
I picked up a side table which I am yet to find a place for in the house, picked up a fancy basket and then finally headed to do the grocery shopping. Although I had picked up the two things on my list, I went on to explore the fresh produce section. That is where my eyes fell upon the fresh basil leaves which in turn instantly reminded me of pesto! And now I was craving for pesto pasta! I picked that packet of basil leaves just for that. After having spent nearly 180$ in this store out of which I had needed only 2 things, I went home swearing to never aimlessly shop again. I knew it right then that it was a futile swear as I will repeat this on my very next trip. When KR got home, he rolled his eyes as he saw what shopping I had done but I smiled sheepishly and presented him pesto pasta for dinner hoping that he forgets all this! Sigh! Such is my life! And yes, that is the kind of impulsive shopper I am and if you are one of us, I feel you! We are in this together. But the good thing in all of this was that I got to make pesto and then use it in two different recipes just to see the versatility of this aromatic sauce.
I love the fact that making pesto at home is such an easy task plus it needs very basic ingredients from the kitchen pantry! While you may have seen many recipes online, let me show you the right way of making pesto sauce at home. First we need to lightly toast some nuts in a pan. You can use pine nuts, pecans, almonds, pistachios or even walnuts. I have used walnuts in this recipe. Allow enough time for the nuts to cool down before transferring them to a blender. Then add basil leaves, spinach leaves, green chillies, garlic, rock salt, Parmesan and olive oil. Blitz to make a smooth and creamy puree. Your Basil Pesto is now ready. You can store it in an airtight container and refrigerate it for 4-5 days. But a recipe made with freshly made pesto tastes sumptuous.
This amazing pesto is so damn delicious that you will want to make it every week! Now you can get creative with the ways to use this pesto sauce. Have you tried pesto sandwich? Smear pesto over a toasted bagel or bread, sprinkle chaat masala and enjoy! A quick and tasty snack that also bundles up as a breakfast. I sometimes add few spoons of pesto in my batter. Be it dosa/uttapam/pancakes, a hint of pesto will only elevate the flavors. You can use this as a Dip or as a side for your fritters or chips. Oh there are so many ways one can use this sauce in the kitchen, it’s all about using one’s imagination. If you use pesto in any other way then please let me know. I am always open to new recipes!
Although I have given you many ideas to use this green sauce, here are 2 additional recipes that you can make that’s different from the rest. First one is Grilled Pesto Paneer. According to me, Paneer is the rich cousin of Tofu. It has more flavor, fat and protein. Largely used in Indian cooking, paneer is made from milk, so y=if you are vegan then you can make this recipe using tofu and I will not judge you! 🙂 Kidding! Cut paneer in cubes (like shown in the image below), transfer them to a bowl and dust it with cornflour. Then add pesto sauce and lightly mix to coat the paneer. Marinate it for an hour. You can leave it in the fridge. Heat a grill pan, and place these marinated paneer pieces carefully on the pan and grill it evenly on both sides by smearing enough oil as required.
Take it onto a kitchen towel. Sprinkle chaat masala and serve them hot. These Grilled Paneer Pesto can be served as a snack or as a side. Now that the holiday season is upon us, these grilled paneer will make a great side along with your wonderful spread on the dining table. You can even enjoy these as a snack or place them in roti/soft tortillas and enjoy them as a wrap! There are many ways to enjoy this super delicious grilled pesto paneer and you must try it out.
The other obvious recipe is to make Pesto Pasta. But I have given it my own touch and tried to make it with new flavors. Boil pasta as per the instructions on the packet. Drain and keep it aside. Heat olive oil in a pan, add crushed pistachios, minced garlic, red pepper flakes and edamame to the pan. Saute for 4-5 minutes. Then add the pesto sauce and mix. check and add salt as the pesto is already salty. Continue to saute the sauce for 2 minutes and then add Parmesan and cooked pasta. Give it a good mix and ensure that the pasta gets coated well with the green sauce. Take it off the flame after about 2 more minutes. Serve it warm with some homemade garlic bread or a hot bowl of soup. And of course, garnish it with some more Parmesan if you wish! This pesto pasta is truly aromatic and flavorful.
My brother and SIL are huge fans of pasta but they prefer the one made in white Alfredo sauce. Whenever they dine out, they only order white sauce pasta and whenever I cook for them, they only ask me for this one recipe. Mind you, I enjoy cooking for them but I don’t want to feed them the same dish every time I make pasta for them. One fine day, I decided to give them a taste of a different kind of pasta. When I made this version, they were blown away by the flavors. Now they tell me that they always mix up their orders when at an Italian restaurant. It’s always one white and one green pasta. Feels happy to have converted my favorite couple to try a new pasta flavor and enjoy it as well!
If you do try this recipe, please do share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. This will keep me motivated to develop more interesting recipes. Click a pic and post it with the hashtag #cookiliciousveg . I would love to see your pictures on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!
Doing Pesto Sauce the Right Way!
- 1/3 cup waluts
- 1 cup basil
- 1 cup spinach
- 2 green chillies
- 4 garlic cloves
- rock salt as required
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2-3 tbsp Parmesan
- First we need to lightly toast some nuts in a pan. You can use pine nuts, pecans, almonds, pistachios or even walnuts. I have used walnuts in this recipe. Allow enough time for the nuts to cool down before transferring them to a blender. Then add basil leaves, spinach leaves, green chillies, garlic, rock salt, Parmesan and olive oil. Blitz to make a smooth and creamy puree. Your Basil Pesto is now ready. You can store it in an airtight container and refrigerate it for 4-5 days.
Grilled Tofu Bites with Dorot Basil is another alternate recipe you can try if you are in the mood to eat grilled food. Some pasta recipes with a twist to try on a weeknight are Vegan Turmeric & Nuts Penne Pasta Salad, Easy Cheesy Tomato Rotini Pasta Bake, Vegan Cilantro Basil Cream Sauce Pasta, One Pot Indian Curry Pasta, Garlic & Breadcrumbs Pasta Salad, Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta, Habanero Basil Mango Pasta, Edamame & Mushroom Pasta Salad, Sriracha Peanuts Pasta and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce & Bow-tie Pasta.