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Basic Leek Parsley Pesto {Long Lasting, Versatile}

by HomeNaturallyMade
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Basic Pesto {Healthy, Long Lasting, Versatile}

Basic Leek Parsley Pesto made of young leek and tender parsley, both dubbed as superfoods, is so refreshing and naturally delicious. The capers, another super healthy ingredient, elevated the flavor and taste beautifully. Organic virgin olive oil and a pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt are barely there to blend and wrap everything together. Such a basic, simple while versatile pesto sauce that can go well with almost everything.

I purposely made this basic version of pesto sauce using only six ingredients- parsley, leek, capers, olive oil, black pepper, and salt. This way, this pesto can last many weeks in the fridge. You can then adapt this basic pesto to limitless variations by adding different additional ingredients, such as fresh basil, garlic, hard cheese, and/or pine nuts.

I call this my early spring pesto. This is because leek, being a perennial, grows well in the cold early spring weather. They usually thrive in my backyard garden way before we get a chance to plant annual herbs such as basil.

Homemade Basic Pesto Ingredients
Homemade Basic Pesto Ingredients

What is Pesto?

For those who haven’t heard of Pesto, it is a refreshingly tasty bright green sauce made of fresh green herbs, virgin olive oil, spices, and more. Pesto is native to Genoa in Italy, in Italy’s northwest Liguria region.

Homemade Pesto {Yummy Healthy Versatile Way}
Homemade Pesto {Yummy Healthy Versatile Way}

In fact, “Pesto” means “to crush” in the local language. This implies that in the old-time and way before food processor was invented, people simply used mortar and pestle to make this popular green sauce.

I got to know pesto many years ago when my husband made it for a Thanksgiving Dinner. The rest is a story. I became a fan of pesto ever since.

Homemade Pesto {Yummy Healthy Versatile}
Homemade Pesto {Yummy Healthy Versatile}

What is Pesto made of?

The original pesto in Genoa, Italy might be a blend of fresh basil, cheese, pine nuts, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil. However, you can be creative using all kinds of green herbs. I discovered that leek and parsley, which I grow in my backyard vegetable garden, work out perfectly too.

Both leek and parsley are perennial herbs in Chicago area, and thrive in cold weather. I can enjoy this delicious superfood pesto, coming directly from our backyard garden as early as late March.

Parsley and Leek grow back after being chopped off the leafy tips above the ground. Every time I have a major harvest during the spring, I will make a batch of this super tasty, healthy pesto that can last a long time in the fridge. It is an excellent way of using these two super healthy herbs.

What makes this Leek Parsley Pesto an all-around superfood Pesto?

Parsley and Pesto are the perfect DASH diet

DASH stands for Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension.

Superfood parsley and leek contain impressive anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory substances, and other essential nutrients. I noticed they both last a long time after being washed, air-dried, and stored in a ziplock bag in the fridge.

Parsley and Leek in the Home Garden
Parsley and Leek in the Home Garden

In addition, parsley is rich in vitamins such as vitamins A, C, K, Folate (a natural form of Vitamin B9), and minerals such as potassium. As a result, people believe parsley helps lower the risks of cancers and heart diseases, as well as supports bone health.

Leek is a source of soluble fiber including prebiotics which is essential to keep our gut healthy, on top of other wonderful nutritional benefits.

All these make them perfect DASH food {Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension}. Making pesto sauce out of them is an easy and yummy way to enjoy these two superfood vegetables.

By the way, young leek greens look very much like young garlic leaves but have a much milder taste and flavor. If you have extra, they work great for Chinese Stir-Fried Noodles or Chow Mein.

Parsley and Leek in the Home Garden
Parsley and Leek in the Home Garden

Both parsley and leek are excellent choices for a home vegetable garden for so many good reasons

Not only they are super healthy and nutritious, but they are also perennial and require low maintenance. This means they come back every year in early spring and grow strong no matter what. Isn’t that wonderful for people who have a busy schedule?

They are also exceptional renewable vegetables. Chop the leaves off above the ground and they grow back, just like the green leafy vegetables do.

Last but not least, I can also tell you that home garden parsley and leek taste so much tender, hence taste so much better, compared to the store-bought version.

What are Capers? Why they are good for you?

Capers, Salt and Black Pepper
Capers, Salt and Black Pepper

For those who are not familiar with Mediterranean cuisine, you may not know capers. Capers are pickled flowering buds of a low-growing caper bush, commonly found in the Mediterranean area.

Capers contain a wonderful variety of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory substances, as well as vitamins and minerals. A genuinely healthy ingredient indeed.

People rarely eat capers by themselves in large quantities, since they have extremely concentrated salt levels and flavors with a hint of bitterness. However, it is wonderful to incorporate a small quantity of them into recipes to flavor the dishes.

Including capers in this basic pesto is simply one of the best ways to enjoy this healthy, tasty ingredient. They elegantly enhanced the taste of pesto just right.

How to make healthy, tasty, and long-lasting pesto at home from scratch?

how to make pesto step-by-step
how to make pesto step-by-step

The first is to coarsely cut parsley and leek greens into bite-size lengths.

Chopped Parsley and Leek for Pesto
Chopped Parsley and Leek for Pesto

Wash, and rinse parsley and leek greens well. Then cut them into bite-size lengths using a knife on a cutting board. Although I am going to use a food processor to chop and blend, this prep step is very helpful for a smoother and easier blend.

The Second is to finely chop parsley and leek

Add the coarse leek leaves and parsley leave pieces into the food processor loosely, and chop/grind them into fine pieces. Do not compact and over-fill the food processor.

Use food processor to finely chop parsley
Use food processor to finely chop parsley

You may need to do this for multiple batches, place the finished fine pieces into a mixing bowl and repeat for the rest of the parsley and leek.

Finely chopped parsley and leek greens
Finely chopped parsley and leek greens

The Third is to blend into Pesto

Once you have finely chopped all the parsley and leek, add them back to the food processor, along with the capers, freshly ground black pepper, Himalayan pink salt, and extra virgin olive oil. Turn the food processor on and blend into a paste.

Blending Pesto using a food processor
Blending Pesto using a food processor

Do it in several intervals, using a silicone spatula to scrape off the chamber walls and mix in between intervals.

Homemade Pesto {Easy, Healthy, Yummy, Long Lasting, and Versatile}
Homemade Pesto {Easy, Healthy, Yummy, Long Lasting, and Versatile}
Homemade Pesto {Yummy Healthy Versatile}

Basic Leek Parsley Pesto {Long Lasting, Versatile}

Yield: 3 cups of Pesto
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Basic Leek Parsley Pesto made of young leek and tender parsley, both dubbed as superfoods, is so refreshing and naturally delicious. They last many weeks in the fridge for you to adapt to various versions by adding additional ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb young leek greens
  • 1/2 lb tender parsley
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, organic, extra virgin preferred
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt, see notes
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 20 g of capers, about 0.7 oz

Instructions

  1. Gather all ingredients.
    Homemade Basic Pesto Ingredients
  2. Wash, rinse parsley and leek greens well. Then cut them into bite-size lengths using a knife on a cutting board.
    Chopped Parsley and Leek for Pesto
  3. Add the coarse leek leaves and parsley leave pieces into the food processor loosely, and chop/grind them into fine pieces. Do not compact and over-fill the food processor.
    Use food processor to finely chop parsley
  4. Do this for multiple batches, and place the finished fine pieces into a mixing bowl mixing bowl and repeat for the rest of the parsley and leek.
    Finely chopped parsley and leek greens
  5. Add the finely chopped parsley and leek greens back to the food processor, along with the capers, freshly ground black pepperHimalayan pink salt, and  extra virgin olive oil. Turn the food processor on and blend into a smooth paste.
    Blending Pesto using a food processor
  6. Do it in several intervals, using a silicone spatula to scrape off the chamber walls and mix in between intervals.
    Homemade Pesto {Easy Healthy Yummy Long Lasting Versatile}
  7. All done! Store them in air-tight glass containers for various uses.
    Homemade Pesto {Yummy Healthy Versatile Way}
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 servings Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 75Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 356mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 2g

Nutrition calculation is provided by Nutritionix to the best knowledge per ingredients description and isn't always accurate.

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