My best pesto yet

My best pesto yet

What a blessing it is to have a generous work colleague and friend who must live in the perfect microclimate for growing things. Ginger is an expert with roses — and now a magician with basil and other good things too. She brought me a bag of the most beautiful basil, zucchini, cucumbers, plums, and fresh oregano.

I had some yellow and red bell peppers from Kaiser Permanente's new organic farmers market at the national program headquarters in Oakland. With addition of a little garlic, fresh mint from my own yard (it grows itself), and some whole wheat pasta, my wife and I had a spectacular meal.

All I did was saute thinly sliced zucchini and peppers with minced garlic in some olive oil adding the minced fresh oregano, salt, and pepper. I tossed this with cooked whole wheat pasta and served it with a large dollop of pesto. Thinly sliced cucumbers topped with chopped mint accepted a Meyer lemon vinaigrette for the salad. Thank you, Ginger. This meal was wonderful.

When we do the nutritional analysis, we will post it with and without the cheese. There's a lot of fat in pesto, but it is mostly "good" fat in the version without the cheese. Also, you don't need a whole lot of it to enjoy its wonderful flavor. Use a little of this on pasta, fish, chicken, or crostini. Here's to summer.

Servings: 8


  • 4 cups tightly packed basil leaves
  • 5 small to medium garlic cloves, minced. (I have used too much garlic in the past)
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • Optional 1/4 pine nuts — ours was great without


  1. Pulse the basil leaves and garlic in a food processor. 
  2. While running, drizzle in the olive oil and process until smooth. 
  3. Add salt and pepper and adjust seasoning. 
  4. Blend in cheese. 
  5. Store refrigerated in an airtight container and use within 2 to 3 days. 
  6. Don’t saute it as it will turn an ugly color. 
  7. If you make a bunch of this, you can freeze it in baggies or an ice cube tray for another month of the year when your friend’s garden is dormant.