I don’t usually post on the weekends, but I wanted you to have this low carb pesto recipe available for some delicious recipes using pesto that I’ll be sharing next week. Yes, the meatballs will have pesto too – so make sure you have some on hand for Monday’s low carb meatball recipe! (Don’t worry if you don’t have time or easy access to fresh basil though, you can also use store-bought pesto for those recipes!)
Basil is one of my absolute favorite summer herbs, and I always grow a ton of it in my garden. I just love walking out and picking it fresh to use in recipes during the summer. I will even chew on the leaves occasionally, I enjoy the flavor of it so much!
I recently used a bunch of basil in this awesome recipe for Chicken with Cherry, Basil and Jicama Salsa. It barely put a dent in my basil patch though, so I knew it was time to make some pesto, before it all went to seed!
Since I always have an abundance of fresh basil by this time of year, making pesto to freeze is something I do every season. I love that I can just take it out of the freezer anytime in the winter, and instantly enjoy that fresh summer flavor again.
This year, I added the lemon zest for a twist on my usual classic pesto recipe, and it added such a nice, citrusy zing, that I may never make the old version again. I was instantly in love when I tasted it! I hope you will be too!
Making your own pesto is super easy. All you need is a small blending appliance like a magic bullet, or a food processor, and you’re minutes, if not seconds, away from being able to PESTO ALL OF THE THINGS!
[pinterest text=”Easy Lemon and Basil Pesto Recipe (low carb and gluten free) ibreatheimhungry.com” layout=”horizontal” image=”http://www.ibreatheimhungry.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/pesto2small-700×910.jpg”]
Pesto makes a great low carb condiment because even a small amount adds so much flavor to whatever you put it on. Slather it on grilled chicken, mix with some mayo and it goes great with pretty much any fish, or brush it onto some grilled veggie kabobs for an instant boost in nom factor.
Even bacon would be better for meeting this pesto. I haven’t actually tried it, but it’s bacon, so I’m pretty sure it’s going to be awesome. In fact, I should test that out just to be sure. Be right back…. Yup. Delicious.
If you need more ideas for using pesto, I’ve got some great recipes for you using this (or any basil-based) pesto coming up next week!
[pinterest text=”Easy Lemon and Basil Pesto Recipe (low carb and gluten free) ibreatheimhungry.com” layout=”horizontal” image=”http://www.ibreatheimhungry.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/pesto3small-647×950.jpg”]
One last note – pesto is not an exact science. I’m going to give you the basic amounts that I use, but depending on your ingredients, you may find that it needs a little more of something to taste right to your palate, or have the consistency that you prefer. So if these ratios don’t get you there, don’t be afraid to add a little more olive oil, salt, lemon zest, or parmesan to get it exactly where you want it. Enjoy! :)
- 2 cups basil leaves, packed
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 5 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 Tbsp lemon zest, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a magic bullet, blender, or food processor and blend until the texture you prefer. You may need to add a bit more olive oil to get the right consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
- Store covered in the refrigerator for up to one week. To freeze, it's best to divide it into smaller portions so you don't have to defrost the entire batch every time you need a few tablespoons of pesto. Small plastic containers work well - or you can freeze it in ice cube trays and then store the "cubes" in freezer bags.