Pestos and salsas can be endlessly varied to create raw seasonal herb and vegetable sauces. If you follow the basic principles of pesto preparation, you can be imaginative in your use of ingredients.
Start with a tender leafy green or herb, add a nut of your choice, a copious amount of olive oil, citrus peel such as lemon or lime, and any additional seasonings (capers, red pepper flakes, cayenne), and blend. By processing the raw ingredients and submersing them in olive oil, you capture the potential health benefits in the herbs and vegetables.
You can vary the texture profile by roughly chopping nuts instead of blending them, small dicing one of the vegetables in the pesto, or halving the cherry tomatoes like I’ve done in this recipe.
Pestos and salsas are versatile in what they can be served with—depending on what you’ve crafted, you can easily pair the pesto with a large variety of meat or vegetable proteins from steaks to fish to beans, spoon it over roasted vegetables, or dip crackers and bread into the mix.
3 cups basil leaves, washed and dried
2/3 cup pecans, toasted
1 cup Sun Gold tomatoes, washed
1 ¼ cups extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Salt, to taste
1. Place all of the ingredients but the Sun Golds in a high-powered blender or food processor.
2. Blend or process the ingredients until just smooth—do not over blend or the mix will oxidize.
3. Halve the tomatoes.
4. Pour the pesto in a bowl and place the halved cherry tomatoes in the bowl. Stir to mix the Sun Golds into the pesto.
5. Serve the pesto over meats, eggs, or vegetables. To create contrasting colors, garnish the plates with a few Sun Golds.