It’s unbelievably easy to create fresh, healthy, and delicious herb sauces (pestos)! Just select your favorite ingredients from the six or seven food categories shown in this diagram and throw it all in your food processor or high-speed blender! Get creative! Have fun! Enjoy!
HERBS and GREENS (fresh)
- Flat leaf parsley (Italian parsley)
- Tarragon fronds
- Oregano (Dried oregis good! In fact, I prefer dried oregano; it’s less overpowering.)
- Basil or Thai basil
- Green onions
- Fennel fronds (green feathery tops of fennel)
- Fresh lemon juice
- Fresh lime juice
- Fresh orange juice
Not Acidic Liquids
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Coconut milk
- Nuts (My favorites include: pine, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, pecans, macadamia)
- Hard-cooked egg yolks
- Cooked or canned (drained) artichoke hearts or bottoms
- Feta cheese
- Goat cheese
- Ricotta cheese
Umami – (also known as the 5th taste) makes food taste richer, meatier, and more savory.
- Anchovies and anchovy paste
- Fish sauce
- Soy sauce
- Worcestershire sauce
- Tomato paste
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Kimchi (made with Napa cabbage, also known as Chinese cabbage)
- Parmesan cheese
- Seaweed fresh or dried (including the popular roasted seaweed snacks)
- Mushrooms, especially shiitake
- Green tea leaves (I haven’t tried adding green tea leaves in fresh herb sauces yet, yet but it might work!)
- Garlic (fresh)
- Mustard (prepared or powder)
- Ginger (fresh)
- Turmeric (fresh or dried). [One of my favorite spices! To learn more, see the blog post: Why turmeric?]
- Preserved lemons
- Lemon zest (from organic lemons)
- Lime zest (from organic limes)
- Orange zest (from organic oranges)
- Salt – Try different varieties!
Spicy hot (optional)
- Cayenne pepper (ground)
- Red pepper flakes
- Aleppo pepper
- Black pepper (freshly ground)
- Paprika, including: Hungarian, hot, smoked
- Hot peppers, including: Serrano, jalapeño, Thai, etc.
FOOD SAFETY TIP – Before you head to your kitchen, please read this Food Safety Tip!
When you combine garlic and oil, you create an environment in which botulism (a deadly food-born bacteria) can grow. According to the University of Colorado Extension Service, to prevent the possible growth of botulism when mixing oil and garlic, you should always “add an acidifying agent such as lemon juice or vinegar to the recipe at the rate of one tablespoon per cup of oil.” Also you should “discard infusions after one week, or sooner if apparent cloudiness, gas bubbles, or foul odor develop.”
FREEZE what you don’t eat!
A great way to store extra fresh herb sauce (or for that matter, leftover portions of any liquid) is to freeze it in silicone muffin pans. For details, see the post, Silicone Muffin Pans – a Kitchen Staple – but not for baking!
CREATE and SHARE!
Here are the links to the fresh herb sauces / pestos found on this blog – so far (more to come):
- Artichoke Lemon Pesto (Simple and pretty plain. Great to mix with other pestos.)
- Arugula Pesto (Very easy to make so if you are not sure which to start with, try Arugula Pesto)
- Cilantro Chutney (Indian)
- Charmoula (Moroccan)
- Basil Pesto(Italian)
I hope you have fun creating your own fresh herb sauces! And I would be very happy if you decided to share your creativity with us by posting a comment about your recipe!
Enjoy and be healthy,