Fresh pesto has got to be one of the best sauces, especially in the summer. It’s fragrant, flavorful and don’t forget pretty! In the spring, I planted a big box of basil for this very reason. I love picking some fresh basil from my plant and throwing it right in the food processor for a quick batch. Basil is the main ingredient of pesto. It’s a great way to get a significant amount of it in a creative and yummy way.
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Some health benefits of basil/pesto:
-Anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties
-Can help detoxify the liver
-Provides Vitamin A and magnesium
Pretty powerful stuff!
Add to veggies, pastas, chicken, shrimp, quinoa, eggs….the list goes on! Make a big batch and freeze the extra in ice cube trays or silicone molds for later! Once they’re frozen seal them into zip lock bags for the freezer. Now you have a pre-made sauce for quick weeknight meals. When you’re cooking, throw a cube into the pan. So easy!
I use a mini food processor for sauces and dressings like this. It’s great at blending everything up very finely. If you use a larger blender or food processor, you end up losing some of the ingredients to the big bowl or container. I’ve had my mini food processor for 8 years and it’s got plenty of life left in it!
Fresh Homemade Pesto
Recipe type: Dressing/Sauce
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- Juice of half a lemon
- ¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted in the oven or in a pan
- ½ cup olive oil
- silicone molds for freezing - where to get
- mini food processor - where to get
- Put your basil, parmesan cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and toasted pine nuts in the food processor. Blend for about a minute. Add more olive oil if it’s too thick. It should be a little runny and not too pasty.
- A little tip: you do not need to add salt because the parmesan cheese is very salty. I learned that the hard way!
Maybe you’re wondering why you would make your own taco seasoning when you can just buy it in the store? Well the main reason is that the store-bought taco seasonings often include additives and preservatives to give them very long shelf-lives. By making your own, you ensure that you know exactly what’s in it AND you can tailor it to your tastes.
Make your own taco seasoning and store it in a little mason jar or a small sealed container. It doesn’t take much time and then you’ll have it for lots of yummy dishes to come! I always prefer to make my own seasonings, dressings, sauces etc. because it’s a common place for sneaky additives and chemicals to show up in our food. Use this to season your meats for tacos, taco salads and fajitas.
Bri's Taco Seasoning
- 1 tablespoon chilli powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried cilantro
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Combine ingredients in a mason jar and use as needed!
Yup. That’s Trav. Coming up with the ingredients to a meal is easy for me. But when it comes to the sauce, I need some help from the Sauce Boss. Be warned: He likes a lot of sauce on his food. Like, “What kind of soup are you eating?” Ok that’s a little exaggerated, but you get the point. Typical Bri & Trav dinner scenario: I make a beautiful meal that I’ve perfectly seasoned only to have Trav dump sriracha all over it! He’s learning though :) Me, I like not quite as much sauce on my food.
Nevertheless, dressings and sauces make ALL the difference in the world for your dishes. Even the best ingredients can taste bland without a good sauce or dressing.
This dressing was originally created by Trav for a salad but we have used it for other dishes like the Asian Lettuce Wraps. It adds so much flavor and it’s healthy with minimal sugar. You can also make it without ANY added sugar by using an orange juice that has no added sugar (read the ingredient list on the label) and by using a similar type of sriracha sauce that has no added sugar or a chili paste with no added sugar (Whole Foods has lots of good options, but again read the label).
Easy Asian Dressing
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon sriracha or similar organic version
- 1 Tbsp orange juice
- A squeeze of lime juice
- Mix all ingredients together and voila! Store in a bottle or mason jar and refrigerate.