Pesto is super quick to make and a great option for switching out sugar-loaded sauces, with all their nasty additives and preservatives, for a nutrient dense sauce that can be added to a variety of dishes. Pesto is a wonderful addition to pasta or zucchini noodles, omelettes or scrambled eggs, as part of a salad dressing, as a topping to your chicken, or even just as a healthy spread on toast.
It is so simple – just place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth!
Not only is holy basil pesto very quick and easy to make, but it has a lot of therapeutic properties!
As we wrote about in detail in our Top 5 Health Benefits of Holy Basil blog post, holy basil is chock-full of nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and antioxidants like chlorophyll. Holy basil is best known for its adaptogenic properties, in short meaning it assists humans in adapting to stress. As a therapeutic herb, holy basil promotes a sense of calmness and relaxation, which can be helpful if you’ve been feeling stressed out or frazzled.
Don’t let the small size of pine nuts deceive you… they pack a nutrient punch! Pine nuts are rich in nutrients such as vitamin E, vitamin K, copper, iron, and manganese. Believe it or not, Ancient Greeks and Romans, traditionally used pine nuts as an aphrodisiac. Pine nuts contain pinolenic acid, which recent research has found to be an effective appetite suppressant as it triggers hunger suppressant hormones in the gut. Plus, pine nuts are an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids, which have been linked to lower cholesterol levels and a lower risk of heart attack.
Most of us know garlic is a superfood! It is antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and supports the immune system and cardiovascular system. Plus, it adds a ton of flavour to this pesto!
The olive oil in this recipe contains lignans, which are powerful antioxidants that can help protect against breast, colon and prostate cancer by suppressing early cancer changes in cells. Olive oil also contains vitamin E, which can help combat oxidative stress and free radical damage. Oxidative stress and free radical damage are caused where there are too many potentially harmful compounds circulating in the body, and not enough protective compounds (like vitamin E) to counteract them. Of course, olive oil, is a staple in the Mediterranean Diet, which is well-known to promote a healthy weight and benefit heart health!
Adapted from The Backyard Homestead.
Holy Basil Pesto
- 2 cups Holy basil leaves fresh
- 1 Garlic clove crushed or finely minced
- 1 pinch Sea salt
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese grated or substitute nutritional yeast for dairy free option
- ½ cup Extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup Pine nuts or substitute walnuts
- Add basil leaves, garlic, and salt to the bowl of your food processor.
- Using the S-blade, pulse until a paste begins to form. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl to incorporate all the ingredients well.
- Add the Parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast) and pulse again to incorporate.
- Then, with the food processor running, pour in the olive oil in a thin, steady stream.
- Finally, add the pine nuts and continue processing until the pesto is a smooth desirable texture.