Late summer produce is at its finest, your basil plant is in full glory and you’re trying to soak up what’s left of the season— there’s no better time to whip up some fresh pesto! I love to make a bunch of different versions this time of year and freeze them to have on hand as the weather gets colder. This is a version I’ve been making for years. The avocado adds a rich creaminess and lemon adds the perfect amount of zip.
When I make pesto, I typically eyeball measurements and really love to play around with adding in different herbs and nuts depending on what I have fresh. For this, I stuck to traditional basil and pine nuts, but I also love throwing in a bit of cilantro when I use avocado like this. That’s part of the fun of making it yourself, you can really experiment!
I love to have fresh pesto in the fridge for an easy pasta night, a quick tomato salad like the one above, or to top eggs or roasted vegetables. It really is so versatile and takes mere minutes to make if you have the right tool. You may have seen me talking about it on QVC— the Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus is one of my most-used kitchen appliances and ideal for pesto, sauces and dips. The holes in the top lid allow you to stream in the olive oil slowly, just as you would with a food processor, but this tool takes up a fraction of the space and the bowl and blade can be popped into the dishwasher when you’re done. WIN!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be outside picking all of my fresh herbs and throwing together some freezer-friendly pesto packets to get us through the winter!
2 1/2 cups fresh basil
2 tbsp pine nuts
1 clove garlic
large hunk (2 inches or so) Parmigiano Reggiano
1 lemon (juiced)
1 avocado, pitted
roughly 1/3 cup EVOO (can be adjusted for texture preference)
salt + pepper to taste
1) Place cheese, garlic and pine nuts into mini-chopper or food processor and pulse til finely chopped
2) Add in basil and pulse together
3) Add in juice of lemon and pulse to combine
4) Add in avocado and pulse to combine
5) Stream in olive oil through top and blend until smooth and creamy
6) Salt + pepper to taste
Serve, refrigerate or freeze in airtight container