ok, admittedly, this lemony basil pesto has to be (i hope!) the *least* seasonal recipe i’ve ever shared with y’all. however. it’s too delicious not to share AND i have a small pile of much more seasonally appropriate recipes headed your way, all of which are soooo good with this pesto (here and here).
please know, for what it’s worth, that i do feel bad encouraging you to buy those overpriced little plastic clamshells of january basil. this lemony basil pesto is magic, though. and sometimes magic calls for special ingredients.
speaking of ingredients, good news for our vegan/dairy free friends: i’ve been making (and LOVING) this as a pretty-secretly-vegan-lemony-basil-pesto. and for those of you omnivores who want nothing to do with nutritional yeast, you can just swap pecorino romano or parmesan right back and all will be well.
whichever version you make (vegan or not), you need only 6 ingredients and a machine with a spinning blade (aka a food processor or a blender). this pesto comes together in just 5 minutes (assuming you keep a jar of pre-toasted pine nuts in your fridge or freezer – and please tell me you do, as they are so handy to have available to toss on salads, pasta, quinoa/veggie bowl dinners, etc.).
and while the pesto is quick to make, it lasts quite well in a jar in the fridge and i find myself dipping into it constantly throughout the week to dress up eggs and leftover roasted veggies. i bet it would be delicious on rice/quinoa/grain bowls, pasta, and sandwiches, if you’re into those things. my wheels are turning as i type this and i’m thinking it would be perfect to dress up simple baked chicken breasts. clearly, the list of things on which this lemony basil pesto is delicious is long.
so, if the thought of january plastic clamshell basil is just too much for you, i understand. just please promise me you’ll save this for later and make it come august. in the meantime, the rest of us will be slathering it all over everything in the coming weeks. you’re invited to join us.
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and cut into 3 pieces
- 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast (or pecorino romano/parmesan, if you don’t need the pesto to be vegan/dairy free)
- 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
- juice of half a lemon
- ¼ cup (2 fl. oz. / 60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- combine all of the ingredients in a food processor (a mini one is ideal) or blender. process/blend until the pesto is mostly smooth (all of the garlic is blended in, but the basil is still in tiny pieces, rather than fully pureed). taste and adjust – i sometimes add one more squeeze of lemon. slather on everything. store leftovers in a tightly sealed jar in the fridge for up to two weeks. i haven’t tried freezing this lemony basil pesto but in general pesto can be frozen, so it should work here too.