GROW O'ahu

Island Style Gardening and Plant-Based Living

Strike Back with Pesto


The basil had dominated the smaller herbs for long enough.  It just loomed over them, intimidating them with it’s woody stems and enormousness.  I decided it was time for Ms. Basil to get knocked down a notch, which means we would have to eat pesto- for days possibly.

What mess of a pile! So I sat in the shade, while the Little Boy played in the water, picking the best leaves and sending the rest to the hens.

After all that picking and sorting, there was about 3-4 cups of fresh basil! (Maybe more, I’m really bad at estimating these sorts of things.)

Now that most of the crummy leaves and little bugs and critters were left outside, it was time for a good rinse.  I use a vinegar/water spray and then rinse thoroughly.

After letting the leaves dry some in the strainer, it was time for the food processor.

Typically pesto is made with pine nuts, but those are pretty pricey and I didn’t have any, so I used cashews instead.  I think macadamia nuts would be delicious too.  I also don’t use the traditional parmesan in my pesto, as we strive to be vegan whenever possible.  So I tossed in a tablespoon of nutritional yeast to give a “cheesy” aroma.

Add in olive oil, some salt, garlic and puree! I don’t use a recipe for this because I had so much basil, I figured I would just do it till it tasted good.

And the green-ness starts to look great! But the flavor wasn’t quite what I wanted yet, so I dug around in the cupboard and found some sun-dried tomatoes that needed to be used.  Rehydrate them for 10 minutes in boiling water, and they were ready to add in.

The whole wheat pasta was ready, so I tossed it all together, and realized that there would be tons of leftover pesto! A whole 16 oz jar full- so pesto is in our near future again.

After tossing it all with the pesto, I tossed in some cooked chickpeas for protein and topped with a few leftover cashews.  A delicious garden to plate dinner!

I have to wonder what it is about the spot that Ms. Basil occupies, because 24 hours later, she is back to her old self. I swear she grew two inches over night! If this were the Olympics, they would definitely test her for performance enhancements.

So what would be your solution to basil on steroids?


Author: Carmen

Things I love: justice in all forms; flowers; locally grown food; cloth-diapering; breastfeeding; feminist theory; outdoor play; beaches; wine; Divine interventions; 4-H and coffee. Things I loathe: racism; homophobia; toxic crap; misogyny; litterbugs; the zombie apocalypse and pitbull-haters. My formal education is in sociology, gender studies, and public policy. I'm also a Lactation Educator; 4-H Youth Development coordinator a Certified Master Gardener and a graduate of a Permaculture Design Course. I've been blogging for several years on dozens of topics- everything from women's health to breed-specific legislation. But the thing I like to write about most is my gardening, food adventures and my kids. So there you have it. Please be kind. Thanks.

4 thoughts on “Strike Back with Pesto

  1. Your basil is my oregano. It was overtaking the herb garden. I finally chopped it all down, knowing it will grow back in a few weeks–just about the time the lettuce is ready to harvest. Your pesto looks lovely.

  2. You can freeze pesto. Though where you live, there might not be a time when it’s out of season? Here in Kansas, of course, we only get it seasonally. I don’t know a way to use basil more than pesto . . . though I do like a sprig in a vase with some flowers. Cut some and give it away.
    I have oregano too, and that one is invasive! I have it in a spot that may have lead contamination, so I don’t eat it. I rip out chunks and transplant elsewhere, but it just spreads back into the spot I took it from. Its redeeming quality is that the butterflies love it.


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