Pesto: 3 Ways

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about food waste. I’ve been realizing that I definitely over-shop at the grocery store and always wind up throwing stuff away. I try to buy a lot of produce and stress myself out about not having enough vegetables. But then half of them wind up in the garbage. Either I cook them and we don’t finish them, or I don’t get to cooking them and they spoil. My new focus is trying to waste less food. By being conscious of this, I’m hoping we spend less at the grocery store, because we spend way too much money at the grocery store for two people. So I’m trying to go to the grocery store when we really need to go to the grocery store. I’m also trying to make sure I get enough food for the week, but making sure I have quick meal options so that once I use the produce, I can still feed us dinner. I don’t want our attempt at reduced waste and savings on grocery costs to lead to more take-out. So one major solution is Pesto.

Pesto is delicious. It may be one of my favorite things to have in the house for a quick meal. Toss it right into pasta and you have an easy meal that is super tasty. Because I don’t eat dairy, it was difficult finding pestos that didn’t include cheese. We have a Fairway one town over, so when we go there I usually stockpile Cara Cucina’s pesto Genovese and arugula pesto. On weeknights after a long workday, when I’m planning and writing reports, I often whip up a quick pasta with pesto and still feel like I had a delicious dinner (and hopefully lunch option for the next day).

Last week, as I was about to make pasta, I realized I had run out of my Cara Cucina pesto and needed a plan B. I had a bag of spinach in the fridge, some pine nuts in the cabinet, and nutritional yeast. So I whipped up a quick pesto in my food processor. It wasn’t the first time I’ve made pesto, but it wasn’t often my go-to. My fiancé liked it, and I realized it was way too easy to not make all the time.

Here I have for you three pestos: Spinach Cashew, Kale Pistachio, and classic Basil Pesto. Fresh pesto only lasts about 3-5 days in the fridge, but I scooped it into ice trays and froze mine so it would last a few months in the freezer. By using the ice trays, I can take out as much pesto as I need at a time instead of thawing the whole thing and potentially throwing some away at the end. I’m hoping my 45 minute pesto making spree will lead to a whole bunch of dinners.

I hope you enjoy! Feel free to share any feedback. There are so many other ways to make pesto and I will share others as I continue to make it!

 

Recipe notes: I did not measure specifically, so measurements are all estimates. I packed as much as I could into my food processor and took it from there.

Spinach & Cashew Pesto:

Ingredients:

  • About 2 cups of spinach
  • About 1/2 cup of cashews
  • About 1 tsp salt (to taste)
  • About 1 tsp black pepper (to taste)
  • About 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
  • About 1/4-1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil

How to:

Put everything into your food processor and blend until creamy. Taste. Add more olive oil, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast if needed. Transfer contents to a jar and top with about 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil to ensure the top layer of pesto doesn’t oxidize and stays fresh. Keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days, or freeze.

 

Kale & Pistachio Pesto:

Ingredients:

  • About 2 cups of kale
  • About 1/2 cup of pistachios
  • About 1 tsp salt (to taste)
  • About 1 tsp black pepper (to taste)
  • About 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
  • About 1/4-1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil

How to:

Put everything into your food processor and blend until creamy. Taste. Add more olive oil, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast if needed. Transfer contents to a jar and top with about 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil to ensure the top layer of pesto doesn’t oxidize and stays fresh. Keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days, or freeze.

 

Basil & Pine Nut Pesto:

Ingredients:

  • About 2 cups of basil
  • About 1/2 cup of pine nuts
  • About 1 tsp salt (to taste)
  • About 1 tsp black pepper (to taste)
  • About 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
  • About 1/4-1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil

How to:

Put everything into your food processor and blend until creamy. Taste. Add more olive oil, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast if needed. Transfer contents to a jar and top with about 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil to ensure the top layer of pesto doesn’t oxidize and stays fresh. Keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days, or freeze.

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