Pesto is a deliciously simple way to pack in the nutrients of the season! It doesn’t always have to be basil either. We use beet tops in the winter, nettles in the spring, tarragon in the summer, and kale in the fall. We love to add in wild medicinals too like dandelion greens and sorrel, whatever is growing around our feet is usually the most magical anyways.
This time around I used the flowering tops of my holy basil along with cilantro and culinary basil from the local New Family Farm outside of Sebastopol. Though I’ve only seen them at the market, I have heard amazing things. The farm is draft animal powered, organic, and I have been addicted to the basil ever since my neighbors brought some home after volunteering.
Growing holy basil has been a real summer treat. I find that the plant grounds me and somehow simultaneously makes me feel lighter. Perhaps this is because it is considered a nervine tonic in western herbalisim. In my early gardening years I made an entire pesto with holy basil for a dinner party, and I will never forget the reaction. Everyone was so calm and euphoric, it was almost as if we were all on some sort of high! It was a beginners mistake, but no one held it against me!
1 cup packed of fresh seasonal greens and herbs
¼ cup of soaked nuts or seeds of choice
½ lemon (or other citrus if available)
2-3 cloves of garlic
2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper (to taste)
blender or food processor
a good knife
It is best to soak the nut or seeds of choice in warm salted filtered water over night, covered. Otherwise most of the nutrients will be hard to break down, due to the phytic acid that incases all nuts, seeds, and grains.
I like to pre-chip the garlic so it spreads evenly throughout the mix. Then I add all of the ingredients into the blender, and voila… medicinal medicinal pesto!
***Add more oil to make it creamier, or after it has dried out a bit in the fridge. And you can add a local hard cheese if you desire a heartier pesto.
***The traditional way to make pesto is to chop all the ingredients fine and then add the olive oil last, a very long and meditative process… but oh so yummy!