Frugal Homemade Pesto (with Secret Ingredient)
- 6 cloves garlic peeled
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds*
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 2 ½ cups packed basil leaves washed and dried
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice for freezing to keep pesto a brighter green after opening
- 3/4 to 1 cup olive oil plus more if freezing
- Pulse garlic in a food processor until minced. Add seeds, cheese, and salt. Pulse a few times to chop, and then add the basil and continue to process until most is chopped (it's okay if not all is chopped - it will mince as the oil is added). Add lemon juice now, if using.
- With the machine running, add the oil in a fine stream. Process until pesto is smooth. Adjust salt to taste, if needed (less will be needed if using salted sunflower seeds).
- To store in the freezer: pour about a 1/2 cup of pesto into freezer-safe containers, add a shallow layer of olive oil to cover the tops, attach lids, label with date and freeze.
And please let me know if you try this and like it as much as we do!
Note: This recipe was originally published in 2009 and has been updated with all new photos, formatting, and printable recipe. This special frugal pesto recipe is an AOC classic, showcasing how adapting things to make them doable for wherever you are in life – in this case frugality – sometimes ends up being the better thing. I wouldn’t make this with pine nuts now even if I did want to spend the money on them!
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