pesto recipe

Pesto Cheese Ball

Pesto Cheese Ball, Coated in Sunflower Seeds

I needed a recipe using pesto sauce for a recent program. I didn’t want to just toss it in pasta, so I decided to make a cheese ball. With the holidays coming up, it seemed like a good idea to make an appetizer. It came out really well. I used homemade pesto, made from frozen basil and oil.

This recipe is great when you want something that is quick to make. It tastes great, too.

Pesto Cheese Ball

8 oz. softened cream cheese

½ c. prepared pesto- recipe follows

½ c. chopped nuts, sunflower seeds or pine nuts

Combine cream cheese with pesto, stirring until well mixed. Form mixture into a ball shape and rolls in the nuts or seeds. Chill until ready to serve. Serve with crackers, veggies or pita bread.

Pesto Sauce

1 c. tightly packed basil leaves

1/4 c. olive oil

3-4 cloves garlic

Salt to taste

1/2 c. pine nuts, sunflower seeds or walnuts*

1 c. fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients, except the cheese, in a blender and mix until smooth. Stir in the cheese and toss over hot, cooked pasta or use as a sauce on meat and poultry. Sauce will keep a few days in the fridge and makes about 1 1/2 cups, enough for 1 lb. of cooked pasta. Pesto can also be frozen. *since I was adding nuts to the outside of my cheese ball, I didn’t add the nuts to my pesto sauce this time. I am sure it would have worked even if I had added the nuts.

Classic Basil Pesto

Classic Basil Pesto

With cold weather on the horizon, I find myself wanting to enjoy fresh basil even more, while I can. Pesto is one of my favorite basil dishes.

Pesto is most often made with basil, but there are a lot of variations out there. Pesto can be made from parsley, sun dried tomatoes, spinach or mint.

I must admit to being a big fan of the original.

I make pesto often when I have fresh basil. I also freeze basil with olive oil, so I can make it all year long. Pesto can be tossed with pasta, rice, potatoes or other veggies. I also like pesto on chicken.

Basil Pesto Sauce

1 c. tightly packed basil leaves
1/4 c. olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic
Salt to taste
1/2 c. pine nuts, sunflower seeds, pecans or walnuts- I like to toast the nuts first
1 c. fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients, except the cheese, in a blender and mix until smooth. Stir in the cheese and toss over hot, cooked pasta or use as a sauce on meat and poultry. Sauce will keep a few days in the fridge and makes about 1 1/2 cups, enough for 1 lb. of cooked pasta.

Pesto Potato Salad

Pesto Potato Salad

Pesto Potato Salad

I never met a potato I didn’t like. This time of year it’s all about potato salads. I make them a lot and always look for new ways to change them. I love pesto sauce and the combination is quite nice.

 Pesto Potato Salad

2 lbs. Boiling potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
1 c. basil leaves
3 T. pine nuts, walnuts or pecans
3 T. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 c. Parmesan cheese
Salt to taste

Cook potatoes until tender. Cool. In blender combine remaining ingredients, except 1 tablespoon of the nuts. Pour blended mixture over potatoes and sprinkle with the reserved nuts. Chill. Serves 6-8.