Pesto Recipe (Without Garlic)

If I had to choose one food to eat for the rest of my life it would be pesto.  There’s only one problem, my stomach and garlic aren’t friends.  Below is my recipe for pesto that uses garlic-infused olive oil (widely available at grocery stores) instead of garlic.  It retains all the flavor of regular pesto with the added bonus of avoiding garlic breath!

One more note, if you’ve never made pesto before it takes A LOT of basil.  So much that you’ll want to be growing it or have a neighbor who is.  It would be exorbitantly expensive to buy from the grocery store.  Keep in mind that basil picked at the end of the day will be sweeter than basil picked in the morning.

1/2 cup nuts (usually pine nuts and walnuts but most others will work too)

5 cups basil leaves, packed

1 1/4 cups garlic-infused olive oil

1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (the good stuff, no green bottles)

1 tsp ground peppercorn

I put the nuts in my food processor and process until they are small bits.  Then add the peppercorn and basil leaves and process again.  Next I pour in the olive oil and process.  And finally the parmesan cheese and process yet again.

Honestly making pesto is more work than I would do on a week night for dinner.  I try to save it as a weekend project and make several batches since pesto freezes nicely if you simply add a thin layer of olive oil on top to seal in the beautiful green basil color.

I usually serve pesto over a bowl of zucchini noodle with grilled chicken but it is also a great dip for veggies.

Adapted from Ina Garten’s pesto recipe.