Nut-Free Basil Pesto

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My family planted a large garden when I was growing up and the herb garden was my place to take care of. So making lots and lots of basil pesto was something I made almost every summer. After awhile of making big batches of pesto, the price of pine nuts starts to add up, so I started using walnuts and that worked but then I also discovered pinto beans are very yummy and make a very creamy pesto, not to mention way less expensive! It is also a great option for those you have nut allergies and sensitivities.

I also freeze most of my pesto so that I can use it any time of the year (see directions below on how I do that.)

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup good quality olive oil

1/3 cup cooked and cooled pinto beans

4 cloves garlic, cut in half

Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients into a food processor. Pulse a few times and then scrape sides of processor to make sure leaves aren’t sticking to the sides. Turn it on again and let it pulverize until everything is well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste and more olive oil if desired.

Store in the refrigerator for a few days or spoon into ice cube trays and place into the freezer. Once they’re fully frozen take out and put into a ziplock bag. These pesto cubes will last in the freezer for several months. I love to use them in the winter and add them to pastas or soups etc. So easy and it adds a fresh touch to those long winter months.

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