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How to Make & Use Creative Summer Pestos

Many of us are growing small windowsill or container herb gardens this summer. We started a few small plantings on Earth Day in old coffee cans, and now, they are growing strong in the summer sun. The strongest of our herb plants, by far, seems to be the basil, which is known for its ability to grow quickly in warm, sunny areas. We can hardly consume it fast enough before it begins to flower and we must quickly trim it back so it doesn’t lose its luster.

Learn all about basil and get our traditional Basil Pesto recipe in Food Focus: Basil.

To make good and quick use of our generous renewable resource, we have been making a lot of small-batch pestos in unique flavors and varieties with our powerful little food chopper. If the basil is ever not flowing freely, we borrow from some of our other windowsill greens and try new combinations. We experiment with whatever is on hand, such as arugula and macadamia nuts, and find unique combinations we end up loving. The small food chopper bowl makes experimenting with different flavors fun because it’s compact and easy to clean, so we can quickly go from one batch to another.

These creative summer pestos are delicious as pasta sauces, sandwich spreads or mixed in as compound butters. They are delicious spread on grilled corn, chicken or fish and can be added to dressings or marinades. Use a brush to spread the pesto over freshly baked rolls or breads or use it as pizza sauce with fresh mozzarella and sausage. They would even be tasty mixed in with cream cheese to top off a breakfast bagel.

There are a hundred and one ways to use pesto, so I’m sure we could come up with more. If you live in the neighborhood, you might even end up with a jar as a hostess gift for the next cookout. See you then!

Small Batch Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

Yield: Serves 2
Author: Hamilton Beach Test Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. In food chopper bowl, add basil, pine nuts, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and salt.
  2. Cover and blend until almost pureed.

Notes

For a larger batch, multiply ingredients and follow directions as written in a larger food processor.

Small Batch Arugula-Macadamia Pesto

Yield: Serves 2
Author: Hamilton Beach Test Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh arugula leaves
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. In food chopper bowl, add arugula, macadamia nuts, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, garlic and salt.
  2. Cover and blend until almost pureed.

Notes

For a larger batch, multiply ingredients and follow directions as indicated, using a larger food processor.

Small Batch Creamy Pesto

Yield: Serves 2
Author: Hamilton Beach Test Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. In food chopper bowl, add basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, heavy cream, olive oil, garlic and salt.
  2. Cover and blend until almost pureed.

Notes

For a larger batch, multiply ingredients and follow directions as indicated, using a larger food processor.

Compact, affordable electrics chop and mince in a flash.

Hamilton Beach® Food Choppers speed food prep by handling the chopping, mincing and mixing for you. Don’t let the compact, lightweight design fool you. These popular food choppers are powerful enough to take on onions, herbs, nut, garlic and more. You can even use these food choppers to puree sauces and baby food. Hamilton Beach® Food Choppers‘ stainless steel chopping blades provide powerful, reliable results. Plus, they’re easy to use and clean — the bowl, lid and chopping blade are dishwasher safe, and the hideaway cord cuts countertop clutter.

Tell us your favorite way to make and use summer pesto in the comments below.

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Comments

  1. I’ve long used Greek yogurt to make my classic basil pesto creamier, fewer in calories and to stretch it little further. Instead of adding all EVOO I substitute a commensurate amount of Grk. yogurt. It doesn’t lack for flavor and has a lighter & creamier texture.

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