Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Genovese Pesto

Italians make many different forms of pesto even though in America we tend to only see the basil version that is popular in Genoa. I have a particular fondness for pesto. It packs a big flavor punch and can be used to dress up many different foods. I put it in mashed potatoes, salad dressing, tofu ricotta, and on top of veggie burgers to name a few options.

This particular batch of pesto was made to flavor the cooked grain that will be stuffed into the crimini mushroom caps. Our chef friend Ian made a parsley pesto flavored quinoa last Friday and that inspired my mushroom recipe that will be posted tomorrow. Here is how I made pesto today without parmesan cheese.

Genovese Pesto
Makes a little over a cup – 17 tablespoons


2 cups fresh basil leaves, cleaned and packed tightly
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
½ cup toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste (or use Italian Finishing Salt)


Combine all the ingredients in your food processor and process until smooth. The pesto should be thick and creamy. You may need to stop the processor and scrape the sides of the bowl once or twice while processing. Taste the pesto for seasoning and add salt and pepper, as you desire. Additionally, you can add more olive oil if you wish, but I think it tastes great just like this.

Store in a covered container in the refrigerator with a light coating of olive oil over the top to keep the basil from oxidizing. If you are going to need to store it longer than 4 or 5 days the pesto can be frozen.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 60.59
Calories From Fat (90%) - 54.81

Total Fat - 5.92g
Saturated Fat - 0.64g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 0.4mg
Potassium - 39.87mg
Total Carbohydrates - 0.77g
Fiber - 0.23g
Sugar - 0.16g
Protein - 0.72g


Pesto is a calorie dense food due to the nuts and olive oil. However, I think the flavor it packs it worth the “price”. This pesto is great over vegetables or pasta if you have leftovers.

If you are a fan of the flavor of nutritional yeast the recipe as written should work for you. However, if you aren’t a fan of nutritional yeast yet start with one tablespoon and taste the pesto for flavor before adding the second tablespoon.

Each tablespoon of this pesto has a little vitamin A (260IU) and K (24mcg) but not a lot.


  1. yummy, and on pastas, that's probably my favorite way to use pesto, or potatoes.

  2. I love pesto, I could eat it on just about anything

  3. Dani,

    Pesto is great, I agree. I think my favorite way to use basil pesto is tossed with hot pasta, potatoes and greenbeans. In Genoa they use those ingedients to make a lasagna that is amazing.


  4. The idea of this flavoring millet or quinoa is great...such a good way to use it, but not a totally obvious way... the color is so vibrant.

    I feel like I'm getting just as excited about your TG dinner as you are! Ha!

  5. Rose,

    I was really impressed when Ian did it last week at dinner. I don't know why I didn't think of it. It seems so obvious now.

    Thanks for your enthusiasm and encouragement. I wish you were closer so you could come for dinner.

    I can't wait to see your vegetable stack. It sounds great!

    talk to you soon,


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