Remember Paradise Bakery back in it’s heyday? (Before Panera came and trashed it…not that I’m biased or bitter in any way).
Paradise Bakery had by far the best pesto I’ve ever had. Right when you would walk in, there was a free sample table with fresh cuts of french bread, and a bowl full of pesto that you could top your bread with. That was my personal perception of what Heaven’s Gates would look like.
Their pesto was SHARP, chunky, and just salty enough to make you want more. It set the standard for every other pesto I ever had, and I have to say that I haven’t found a pesto that even COMPARES to that beautiful, green sauce. Of course, you can’t find it anywhere anymore, so I had to come up with something that was a close second.
The perfect pesto starts with fresh, beautiful basil leaves. We have quite the prolific little basil plant in our backyard, which has been soldiering through the Arizona summer like a champ. There’s so much satisfaction in plucking your own herbs straight from your garden! Most grocery stores now sell live basil plants for about the same amount of money as the little plastic packets of basil, so why not try your hand out at raising one yourself?
Benefits of basil include:
- Anti-stress properties
- Aids in preventing diabetes, cancer
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Natural Antioxidant
- Great for Liver health
- Great source of Manganese (helps with nutrient absorption, bone density, and digestive enzyme creation).
If it takes you longer than 5 minutes to whip up this pesto, I congratulate you on your thoroughness!
Prep time: 1 Minute
Total time: 5 Minutes
Makes 1 small jar of Pesto
- 1 C loosely packed fresh basil
- 1/2 C + 3 T Olive Oil
- 3 T minced Garlic
- 1/4 C. Cauliflower heads
- 1 T Sunflower seeds, cashews, or pine nuts
- 1/4 C. Parmesan Cheese (optional)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Rinse and dry your basil leaves. Combine all ingredients in food processor, and blitz until you reach your desired consistency (for chunky pesto, about 30 seconds-1 minute. For a smoother pesto, 1-2 minutes).
My favorite way to use pesto is as a sauce for pasta, but it can also be great in salads, mixed into hummus, or spread on your favorite bread or sandwiches! Really, the sky is the limit.
What are your favorite uses for pesto?