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Pepita Pesto

katie oster

Whenever we are not traveling over the weekend, which is quite rare, we like to make a trip to our local farmer’s market. I must brag, this isn’t just any old farmer's market. It is held at Fort Mason Center in the Marina district which sits on the water and is graced with the presence of the Golden Gate bridge in the background. It is one of our most favorite Sunday morning activities.

This past week the fruits and vegetables were looking real good and, of course, I ended up buying way too much but how can you resist some of the freshest, most luscious, organic food around. After a week of trying to use everything that I purchased I was left with a bunch of basil. So what do I do when I have basil that is on the verge of going bad...I make pesto!!

Pesto is one of the easiest things to make, I mean you use one piece of equipment and we all know that I like anything that has minimal clean up!

I decided to have a little fun and I came up with my own pesto recipe. What resulted after some playing around was a lemony, earthy, thick pesto. I like thicker pestos because I usually add some of the pasta cooking water to it to add some starch but you can definitely add more olive oil or water during the blending process if you like it on the thinner side.

Many pesto recipes call for cheese usually parmesan. I chose to exclude cheese from my recipe to make it a bit healthier and I tend to add A TON of cheese to my pasta once plated so I make up for it later.

Classically, pesto uses pine nuts and after I had set my mind on making pesto I only then realized that I didn’t have any on hand. If you haven’t learned this already, you’ll soon realize that I don’t worry too much if I don’t have a particular called for ingredient. More often than not I have a substitutes in my kitchen, I just have to get a little creative.

So after surveying all of the nuts I had, I landed on pepitas. Pepitas aka pumpkin seeds (I just like the way pepitas sounds) are a wonderful source of protein and add something special to the pesto. I think the pepitas add to the thick, velvety texture and give it a nice nutty, earthy flavor. You can sub the traditional pine nuts, walnuts, or even almonds. Do whatever is easiest for you!

Have fun with the recipe. Make it your own, try adding cheese, red pepper flakes, whatever suits your tastebuds. My motto is it doesn’t have to be perfect but it does have to be homemade :) 

Peptia Pesto

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 1/4 cup pepitas/raw unsalted pumpkins needs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 oz/3 cups packed packed basil
  • 2.5 tablespoons olive oil

Blend all ingredients in your food processor until desired consistency is reached. 



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