Instructables

Frugal Flavorful Pesto

Picture of Frugal Flavorful Pesto
Basil is tasty. It's also expensive. Here's how to extend your pesto recipe without compromising taste or nutrition! It also works for many specialized diets, including low oxalate. 
 
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Step 1: Ingredients

Any basic pesto has:

1. Basil -and lots of it!
2. Garlic - fresh of course
3. Cheese - generally parmesan. To make this vegan, cut this out or substitute with nutritional yeast
4. Olive Oil- usually extra virgin
5. Nuts- traditionally pine nuts aka 'pignoli' 

Now most of these ingredients are cheap, or at least are already available in your kitchen. But basil is always my hold up- it's got to be fresh, so you can't stock pile it, and compared to other greens it's much more expensive. Pine nuts can also be pricey when you consider the over-all price of a meal. So how do we extend or replace these ingredients? 

1: Let's use some other greens! Basil is a very flavorful plant, and if you mix it with a mild green, all you taste is basil! For this Instructable, I used kale. More on that later. 

2: Mix in some Thai basil. You can buy it in bunches at Asian markets, for cheaper than sweet basil.
 
3: Use a different nut. Specifically a nut butter. It's cheaper, goes farther, and makes for a smoother consistency.  

Step 2: Prep your ingredients

Making pesto is easy- you just throw everything into a food processor and go. But first you have to make sure everything's ready to go in. 

You'll notice that kale is thicker and rougher than the basil. It needs to be blanched to make it soft enough to puree. Remove the leaves, chop roughly, and throw in a pot of boiling water for about 2-3 min. Drain.

You may also want to blanch the Thai basil. It's a bit spicier than sweet basil, and blanching it will soften the edge. If you like the taste, keep it raw.

Strip all the leaves of basil off the stems. 

Grate the cheese.