Chances are, you’ve probably heard by now that pesto can be a great way to use up an abundance of basil before it goes bad. Perhaps you even consider yourself a seasoned veteran when it comes to homemade pesto. But did you know that this traditional Italian sauce can be a great way to use up other fresh herbs, as well?
The idea for this Rosemary Basil Pecan Pesto first came about in an effort to tame the herb
garden jungle that is quickly taking over the balcony of our apartment. While I’ve been doing my best to incorporate as many fresh herbs into dishes as possible, there are not enough caprese salads in the world that can handle the amount of basil that we currently have (alright, slight exaggeration, but you get the point).
A little back story… At the beginning of this summer, Kyle and I decided that we were at a point in our lives where we were ready to start growing our family. Exciting, right?! Now, before any rumors start flying around of a shotgun wedding, let me be VERY clear here.. I’m talking about growing our PLANT family. (Sorry for the heart attack, mom and dad)
A garden is something that I’ve wanted for a few years now, but living in an apartment meant that it was never really an option. That is, until we learned that our new apartment complex was offering free garden plots that tenants could rent out for the summer months. A chance to grow my own veggies? Fo’ free? WHERE DO I SIGN UP?!
In all honesty, I knew from the start that the prognosis for our garden was probably not great. There are a lot of things that run in my genes, but gardening? That’s not one of them. Regardless, I was determined to prove genetics (and myself) wrong. Over the past few months, we’ve watered, weeded, and nurtured our little seedlings to good health. And it slowly began to pay off.. I could hardly contain my excitement when our first little baby zucchinis and squashes began to pop up in our garden earlier this summer.
Unfortunately, all of my hopes and dreams of fostering a thriving vegetable garden came to a screeching halt a few weeks ago when we discovered that our zucchini and squash plants (along with all of our neighbors’) had unknowingly become infested with grubs. We tried our best to salvage what we could, but unfortunately it was too little, too late. One by one, our beautiful little baby squashes suffered a sad, untimely death.
As sad as I was to see my little plants go, it definitely made me all the more appreciative of the extensive amount of time and effort that goes into producing the food that we eat. And even more aware of the importance of ensuring that this food does not go to waste once it’s in our possession.
As I mentioned earlier, this pesto came about in an effort preserve all of the incredible herbs that have begun taking over my balcony (because apparently herbs are one of the few things that this black thumb of mine can handle). Pesto has always been my go-to recipe of choice when it comes to using up an abundance of fresh basil.. so why not take it a step further and invite other herbs to the party? The more the merrier, right?!
This may not be your “traditional” Italian pesto, but that’s okay – sometimes it’s good to stray off the beaten path. Besides, I can promise you that this pesto is just as delicious (if not more so!) than any “traditional” pesto that I’ve ever tried (and definitely more fresh and flavorful than any store-bought variety!). Not only does the rosemary add a whole other layer of flavor and dimension to an already amazing sauce, but the nuttiness of the pecans just takes this recipe to a whole new level (a level that you will likely never want to leave, by the way).
When it comes to homemade pesto, I’ve always been a fan of substituting other nuts (typically either walnuts or almonds) in place of pine nuts. Not that I have anything against pine nuts, but have you taken a look at them in the stores lately? They’re EXPENSIVE. Yes, yes, I know – nuts in general tend to be a bit on the pricey side. But pine nuts are in a class of their own. I’m talking upwards of 4x the price of other nuts! Thanks, but no thanks.
This time around, I found myself in a bit of a predicament when I realized that I was almost out of both walnuts and almonds (an issue in and of itself, but for the time being, let’s just focus on the pesto). Luckily, a bag of pecans was there to save the day.. and now I can’t imagine this pesto any other way. I’ve already made this recipe three times in the past month and I’m pretty sure it will not be the last time. It’s THAT good.
It’s also pretty convenient that this pesto happens to go with just about EVERYTHING. Pizza, pasta, salads, sandwiches, quesadillas, omelets, avocado toast.. you name it, I’ve pesto’d it.
No worries, though, if you find the thought of eating pesto for every meal overwhelming. This pesto can be made in large batches and stored in the freezer until ready to use. My favorite way to freeze this pecan pesto is in ice cube trays – simply divide the pesto among the molds, freeze until solid, and then transfer the cubes to an airtight container or ziplock bag. Whenever the craving for fresh pesto strikes, transfer as many cubes as you desire to the refrigerator to defrost. Alternatively, you can also defrost the pesto in the microwave if you wish to use it right away.
Do you garden? What are your favorite ways to use up an abundance of fresh garden veggies or herbs? Let me know in the comments below! (While you’re there, feel free to drop some tips on how to keep veggies alive and safe from grubs!)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh basil loosely packed
- 1/3 cup fresh rosemary
- 1/3 cup pecans
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese freshly shredded
- 1/4-1/3 cup olive oil extra virgin
- 1 medium lemon juiced
- 1/4 tsp salt
- black pepper to taste
Place garlic in the bowl of food processor and pulse for a few seconds until minced.
Add in basil and rosemary and pulse until finely chopped, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add pecans, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper. With the food processor running, begin drizzling in olive oil, pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Continue adding olive oil, one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is achieved (the more oil you add, the thinner the consistency will be).
Leftover pesto can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 1 week. To freeze remaining pesto, follow instructions listed in the post above.