Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Purple Pesto (on a diet)

This recipe is made with the flowering bits of cinnamon basil, which are a lovely dark purple.
Do you see the pretty light-purple blooms toward the top/middle of the photo? Yeah...I didn't quite get them picked as soon as I should. But, oh well, it's still totally edible. They'd probably make a sweet garnish, too.

equal parts finely chopped basil leaves*
and walnuts
2-3T olive oil
1/2 cup low-fat Parmesan cheese
3 stalks of green garlic*

Items with a * came from the garden.

I decided to not use a food processor this time. I heard that hand chopping the ingredients for pesto is much more authentic and brings out better flavor.

Pictured above is equal parts finely chopped basil leaves/blooms and walnuts. Yes, walnuts. Why not pine nuts? I didn't have any and didn't feel like running to the store. Don't try to tell me that walnuts aren't used in pesto, because I already know pine nuts are traditional, but I don't think purple cinnamon-basil pesto is exactly traditional to begin with, and I'm going to deviate from tradition even more. Hold onto your pants. ;)

I mixed them up with just a couple tablespoons of really light, delicate olive oil and about 1/2 a cup of low fat Parmesan cheese. ("Real" pesto uses a whole hell of a lot more oil and real cheese, not the stuff I get out of a plastic tub. But I'm poor and on a diet.)

To that I added minced green garlic. What's green garlic? In a word: delicious. Another word: subtle. And another: delicate. It's like food poetry it's so good. Actually it's just grocery store dry garlic cloves I stuck in a pot, they sprout, and those green spears usually get snipped off for my lust for green garlic long before the plant would start reproducing. I'll do a post just on green garlic soon. Promise.

Here's the finished pesto! I added a little milk to smooth it out. It already had dairy from the parmesan cheese, so I figured it'd work out fine. It did. Very creamy :)

Oh, and it was delicious. I used it as a dip for crackers and a spread on a pita. Maybe next time I'll put it on pasta.


  1. I love all the colorful pictures on your blog! I want to start a small indoor/patio veggie/herb garden this week. I know it's a bit late in the year to start but did you have any helpful tips? Keep up the gardening and I'll definitely be back!

  2. Actually that's how I got started last year. I went to the garden center and got a few of the herbs they had left. They didn't last long, so you'll want to bring them inside.

    There isn't much of a growing season left here in Iowa, so I'm planning on trying to overwinter some of my herbs on a windowsill. I'm working on planning out what I'm going to do, and then I'll post about it :)