Making pesto automatically takes me back to warm summer nights, where my entire family ate dinner sitting on the back patio. It was during these months that my mother’s garden box flourished with fresh basil, leading her to always make homemade pesto, of which she stored in the freezer for later use in the winter. During the summer, however, she always made tossed pesto and cherry tomato pasta salad. This dish was (and still is) a family favorite, even for myself, as I simply love taking in the aroma of toasted pine nuts, fresh basil, garlic, and a hint of pecorino.
Because I cannot fully tolerate all of the ingredients my mother uses, I have set out to make a recipe that mimics her tasty version as closely as possible. Therefore, as you can imagine, the last few years of my illness have been full with many different varieties, all of which experimented with a wide range of herbs, oils, and vegetables. What I have concluded after all these years, is that pesto is not pesto without olive oil. Though I have enjoyed sauces made from oils such as avocado, nothing has yet to successfully replace the distinct flavor of olive oil that ultimately brings me back to my childhood. That being said, today’s recipe is definitely, to this date, the closest pesto sauce that successfully reminds me the most of my mothers. With nutty undertones from the artichokes and garlic, a hint of citrus from the lemon, and earthy flavor from the fresh basil, this sauce is the perfect way to brighten up any winter dish. Later on this week I will be posting the Autoimmune-Paleo meatloaf recipe that I served this sauce over. In the meantime however, you can enjoy this sauce on anything you like, whether on a turkey lettuce wrap, over sliced cucumber, rubbed on a roasted chicken, or stirred into baked spaghetti squash.
Homemade Pesto Sauce
- 4 cups fresh basil
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 3 tbsp extra virgin, cold-pressed olive oil
- 1/4 cup organic canned artichokes – drained
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- In a food processor, blend artichokes and basil until broken down.
- Scrape down the sides and then add in sea salt and garlic powder, pulsing until combined.
- With the food processor running, pour in olive oil and lemon juice until fully emulsified.
- Scoop pesto into a mason jar and reserve for later use, or serve over over my Italian Meatloaf.