Summer Basil into Essential Pesto

What’s on Your Plate? Blog Challenge

My talented blog friend, Donna of Retirement Reflections, has teamed up with Deb of Widow Badass to invite all of us to a monthly virtual dinner party. The goal is to spread meal inspirations and share dishes that we have recently enjoyed. Breakfast, lunch, appetizers, dinner, dining in, dining out… all ideas are welcome!

Pesto is an essential staple in my home. I love it on grill chicken, salmon, and roasted veggies. Some jarred brands do the job when time is a commodity. However, the jarred pesto may contain ingredients a guest cannot eat or do not the complement the dish I am cooking. Home made pesto from homegrown herbs satisfies every palate and dish. I make batches of pesto in the summer to last me through the year.

Basil always grew in my mom’s garden. It flourished in pots on the deck or trimmed her big yard garden. Basil is the scent of summer. My grandma and mom would pulverize chopped basil, olive oil, and garlic cloves in a wooden mortar and pestle. It took time and lots of hand and shoulder strength. They made up just enough for the sauce or as a dressing for fish and chicken.

Modern me uses a food processor. I pack a hefty harvest of basil leaves into the bucket and press a button to yield a batch of fresh pesto in no time. I grow my basil in a little herb garden on the side of the patio. They happily co-habitat with the other herbs-parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano, tarragon, sage, mint, and chives.

Here is how it is done: Cut the basil, remove and wash leaves. I sometimes add leaves of fresh parsley and oregano. Spin dry them in a salad spinner and sop up excess water with a paper towel. Loosely pack the food processor bucket with the leaves. Add olive oil, garlic cloves, and a dash of salt. Press the button. Add more oil if it too thick, more leaves if too loose. Taste test the pesto and add salt, oil, and more leaves according to your preferences.

I freeze the pesto in ice cube trays. Each cell is about one table spoon. Cover the ice tray with a sheet of plastic wrap and top with foil. When the pesto cubes are frozen, you can pop them out of the tray and store in a freezer container or just leave them in the tray.

The plain pesto cubes are easy to dress up. Let them defrost in a small bowl then add pignoli nuts, cheese, hot pepper flakes-whatever you want. Throw them in sauces as a substitute for dried basil. You will have a little scent of summer in your dishes.

Please click over to Deb’s (The Widow Badass) and Donna’s (Retirement Reflections) blogs for their new What’s on Your Plate? Blog Challenge monthly dinner (or breakfast, lunch, or midnight snack) party. Check out the meal inspirations found there and share one of your own.

Enjoy‌ ‌❤️.‌ ‌Like‌ ‌‌👍‌.‌ ‌Share‌ ‌😊.‌ ‌  

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If you had purchased a paperback or ebook Daily Bread and/or Becoming America’s Food StoriesThank you!

Take a picture of you with Daily Bread and/or Becoming America’s Food Stories, and I’ll send you Reader’s Swag and add you to the Becoming America’s Stories Readers slideshow, coming soon! Kid pics are welcomed with parent or guardian permission. Don’t forget to leave a rating and quick comment on Amazon and/or Goodreads.



Daily Bread is set in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, 1911. The story follows nine-year-old Lily, an American-born child of Sicilian immigrants, who wants to prove she is not a little kid. To be a big kid in the crowded tenement neighborhoods, she must tackle bigotry, bullies, disasters, dotty bakers, and learn to cross the street by herself
Hope you are hungry. Becoming America’s Food Stories recalls the tales that have been told around my family’s dinner table. The histories explain the motivations over bowls of macaroni, antics play out while slurping soup, and laughter echoes throughout the dining room. Pull up a seat. There’s always room.

“If you don’t cook with love, you have to get out of the kitchen.” Florence Messina

Antoinette Truglio Martin is the author of Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer. The memoir is a wimpy patient’s journey through her first year of breast cancer treatment.

11 thoughts

  1. Love this, and especially the idea of freezing it in ice cube trays! When I get a garden again someday, I will be doing this…for now I have to make do with store-bought pesto. Thank you, Antoinette, for joining in Donna and mine’s fun! 💕


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome contribution, Antoinette. I’ve only recently begun to use pesto on some of my dishes.. and so far have only used store-bought. Thank you for this recipe and the freezing tips. I will definitely try this!


  3. I have tasted freshly made Pesto in friend’s homes yet I have not tried making it myself. I can imagine how you have a wonderful herb garden, Antoinette. Freezing in ice cube trays is a great idea! I love Deb’s and Donna’s “What’s on your plate” challenge. I am always inspired.

    Liked by 1 person

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