Frugal Basil Pesto For the Freezer
I recently tried Minimalist Baker’s Easy Vegan Pesto and it was too good to just share the link on Facebook without giving it a blog post all its own.
Carla Emery of The Encyclopedia of Country Living fame writes that she tries to plant something every day until July 4th and then tries to preserve something every day until frost. While I certainly haven’t stayed up on the planting, I found a great recipe for basil pesto for the freezer.
I love pesto and order it any time I see it on a menu but find that it is cost prohibitive to make at home unless I grow my own basil. I planned ahead this year and have five different varieties growing.
I’m so pleased with the recipe I tried from Minimalist Baker. I applied all of the healthy suggestions, which also happen to be frugal suggestions, and it is my favorite recipe yet. Instead of parmesan cheese, I used nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast (aka “nooch”) is high in B12 and is NOT the same as yeast for bread. It is flakey (looks like fish food… sorry for the visual) and has a cheesy flavor. It is inexpensive when I order it in bulk from Azure Standard.
Instead of pine nuts, I used sunflower seeds. They are about $2 for 12 oz at my local grocery store which doesn’t even carry pine nuts. I also used all water instead of some olive oil.
I tasted my new recipe on a stir “fry” of zucchini, onion, asparagus, mushrooms, and bow tie pasta. It. Was. Excellent. I didn’t have high hopes for something so low in fat but I definitely couldn’t tell that it was healthified. Spencer even ate it.
I made a big double batch of half regular and half lemon basil. Doubling the recipe gave me a little more than 1/4 C to use for my recipe and six cubes to freeze. I use a silicone baby food freezing tray for liquids (garage sale find but similar here) that holds about 1/4 C per cube. After freezing I pop out the cubes and keep them in a freezer container.
This recipe is the best basil pesto I have ever tried but the adjustments make it healthier, cheaper, and easier to freeze and thaw. I highly recommend getting your hands on some fresh basil and giving it a try.