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Freezer Staples Garden Fresh Sides Recipes Weeknight Meals

Easy Basil Pesto Sauce

My dad plants several basil plants in his garden each year, so when they get large, it’s pesto time! We make several batches of pesto every summer, then freeze them in silicone ice cube trays to eat all winter. My parents cook dinner nearly every Sunday for our family of eight adults and five kiddos. When there’s a spicy dish for the adults, my mom pulls a few pesto cubes out of the freezer for the kids. She defrosts the pesto cubes in a bowl on the counter then tosses it with pasta. Quick, easy and healthy meal in minutes!

It’s best if you grow your own basil for this recipe or it could get really expensive! Between the olive oil, pine nuts and freshly grated parmesan, it’s not the most budget-friendly recipe. However, once you have it in the freezer, it makes for a quick and easy dinner for months to come. We buy our olive oil at Costco and pine nuts from a bulk bin at Kroger (this way you can buy only as much as you need). I bought 0.60 lbs of nuts for $7.00, which will make roughly four batches. This year, my mom used freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano instead of the grated Parm found at the grocery. We felt it made a difference in flavor, so we have switched to our own freshly grated. 

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We made 2 batches of this pesto on Thursday night, then tossed it with pasta and rotisserie chicken Friday night for dinner. It was delicious and perfect for busy weeknights!

Doubling this recipe will give you around 18 one ounce cubes. We use 3-4 ounces of pesto per 12 ounces of pasta. After the pesto is prepared, I divide into silicone ice cube trays (easier to pop out), then freeze overnight.  Once frozen, toss them into a freezer storage bag.

Easy Basil Pesto Sauce
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups packed basil
  2. 3 cloves of garlic
  3. 1/4 c toasted pine nuts
  4. 1/2 t kosher salt
  5. 1/4 t pepper
  6. 2/3 cup olive oil
  7. 1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spread pine nuts into an even layer on baking sheet. Bake for a few minutes until slightly brown, then cool.
  2. 2. Pulse basil, cooled pine nuts, garlic, salt and pepper in the food processor.
  3. 3. With the food processor running, drizzle in the olive oil.
  4. 4. Add the cheese and pulse until combined.
  5. 5. Freeze in silicone ice cube trays.
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