Flip Your Kitchen Basic Pesto

By Liza Baker, HCTP October 2013

Pesto comes from the Italian word that means “to pound or crush,” and the paste is traditionally made by crushing basil, garlic, Parmesan, pine nuts, and olive oil in a mortar and pestle – but these days it’s easier to use a food processor. And if basil is out of season, you can make it with just about any leafy herb or green you have on hand, including my favorite – kale!


  • 1 cup tightly packed fresh herbs (basil, parsley, cilantro, marjoram, etc.),
  • 1 cup tightly packed dark, leafy greens, such as kale, spinach, arugula;
    • or 1 cup of a combination of greens and herbs
  • 1/4 cup nuts or seeds (pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, pepitas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds)
  • 1–3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, pulse herbs and/or greens, nuts, and garlic until finely chopped.
  2. With the processor running, add oil in a thin stream.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.


  1. For extra depth of flavor, add 1–2 tablespoons rinsed and drained capers, oil-packed sundried tomatoes, or pitted olives to the greens and/or herbs in the food processor. You’ll probably need to reduce the amount of salt.
  2. Add 2–4 tablespoons Parmesan, Asiago, or other “dry” grating cheese – softer cheeses (cheddar, Swiss, etc.) don’t work well in pesto.


  1. Pesto will last a week (or more) in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator. The top layer may darken a bit – either scrape it off with a spoon or simply mix it in.
  2. Pesto can be frozen in a tightly covered container for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using.

Full-time Health Coach and nonprofit consultant, self-published author, blogger, and woefully underpaid COO of a busy family of four, Liza Baker adores her crazy life and brings her passion, knowledge, and experience to the table to help you love YOUR life – no matter how crazy it is – and reach your goals.

Liza’s an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and sanity whisperer to underappreciated, underlistened to, under-taken-care-of, undervalued, overwhelmed, overworked, overscheduled, and OVER. IT. ALL. working wives and mothers who dream of a starring role in their own lives. Learn more about Liza on her website and Instagram.

Recipe from FL!P YOUR K!TCHEN, © Elizabeth A. Baker, LLC, 2016

Photo by Chuk Nowak, 2016

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