Pepita Basil Pesto
I don’t know about you but I hate food allergies. I love to cook and try new foods but I always have to ask the question “Are there any nuts in that?” Unfortunately, I found out the hard way about ten years ago that I am allergic to tree nuts. You can only imagine my reaction to the bad news. I thought to myself really? You mean I got to carry around an EpiPen? Seriously? Tree nuts? For those who may not know exactly what tree nuts are they include nuts such as walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pine nuts, pistachios, macadamias, brazil nuts, and the list goes on. Fortunately, I can still eat peanuts (they don’t grow on trees, but, I still have to be careful!). Anyone who has a food allergy or has a friend or family member who has one knows exactly what I am talking about. You learn quickly that when you have a food allergy your scope of food choices just got severely limited.
Well, in the meantime, I ain’t dead yet and I have learned to adapt. For the past several years I have worked on creating some of my favorite recipes using pepitas as a nut substitute. Pepitas are little green pumpkin seeds that are similar to nuts in texture and crunch. I love to use them in my pesto. My Pepita Basil Pesto is a vibrant green basil pesto with olive oil, garlic, fresh shaved Parmesan cheese and crunchy little pepitas. Use it as you would use any pesto. Put it on crostini, toss it in some pasta, or spread it on a sandwich. Make this Pepita Basil Pesto and you will change your pesto making ways. Enjoy! Tessa
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves (packed)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup shelled unsalted pepitas
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
Let’s begin by washing the fresh basil leaves, removing stems and flower buds. Lightly pack into 2 cups. Add the olive oil, pepitas, garlic, lemon juice and salt to food processor. Blend until it is a thick paste, scraping sides of processor with a spatula. Add basil leaves and parmesan cheese. Blend until basil is well incorporated. Keeps about 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Can be frozen. Makes about one cup.