Pesto is a Mediterranean staple, and for good reason. If you’ve never marinated a piece of salmon or chicken or lamb with pesto before cooking, you’re truly missing out. Pesto is a great substitute for pasta sauce, a delicious salad dressing, a scrumptious addition to a sandwich, and perfect for dipping vegetables or bread as an appetizer. Pesto is the perfect thing to always have available because it can make any good dish great.
Another great thing about pesto is that it’s completely customizable. Traditionally, pesto is made with pine nuts and unflavored olive oil. But the recipe below uses almonds instead of pine nuts and basil infused olive oil to give it a unique flavor. If you want, you can add parmesan or manchego cheese to the recipe, use cilantro instead of basil, or use red pepper infused olive oil instead of basil infused oil. There is no wrong way to make pesto. The key is to experiment and find the combination of flavors that you love.
- 3 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves
- 1 small stemmed and seeded jalapeño chili
- 1/4 cup toasted almonds
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon lightly packed finely grated lemon zest
- 1/2 cup of Mediterranean Drizzles basil infused extra-virgin olive oil
- Using a food processor combine the first six ingredients. Use pulse a few times to make a coarse puree.
- With the motor running, slowly pour the basil infused olive oil through the feed tube. Stop processing when the oil is completely blended in. If you want a finer, smoother consistency, continue processing until the pesto looks good to you.
- Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.
This sauce is best if served within the hour, but it can be refrigerated in an airtight container with plastic wrap pressed directly onto its surface for up to 3 days. Or, freeze in one or more ziplock freezer bags for up to 3 months.