I love having fresh pestos on hand. They can be made using a variety of leafy greens, not just basil. I make them with whatever is seasonally abundant and then freeze the extra to use in winter months.
I put herbal pesto on my poached egg in morning, as a flavorful spread on a sandwich or wrap for lunch or in a great fresh sauce for a quick pasta dinner—perfect for busy workday evenings.
One of my favorite recipes includes a variety of medicinal herbs with a base of parsley. As the seasons change, I switch out the parsley for whichever leafy greens are plentiful in my garden or at the market. Each of the different plants has their own healing attributes. Switching it up seasonally helps your body stay in tune with nature and offers the nutrients you needs at the most appropriate time.
Here are some of the medicinal benefits of herbs and greens to include:
Parsley is a nutrient-rich digestive aid containing chlorophyll and substantial levels of vitamins A, C, K, folate, iron and calcium. It gently cleanses waste products from the body.
Sage is anti-inflammatory, mineral-rich and highly antiseptic. It can help the body digest rich foods more easily.
Oregano is nutritive, antiseptic and packed with antioxidants. It is a powerful antibacterial herb that has rivaled the effects of penicillin in recent studies. It is excellent for protecting the body from illness in winter months.
Thyme is another highly antibacterial herb. Like sage and oregano, it excels not only at staving off colds and flus, but also returning the body to wellness if you do get sick. It is especially great for the respiratory system.
Cilantro is a natural detoxifier that helps remove heavy metals from the body.
Basil enhances digestion and is an uplifting antidepressant.
Arugula contains high levels of chlorophyll, vitamins and minerals.
Now for the recipe:
3 cups of parsley (or other leafy base greens such as basil, arugula, spinach or cilantro)
3/4 cup of organic extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup of pumpkin or sunflower seeds or a mix of both (lightly toasted in a cast iron skillet or on a baking sheet in the oven)
3 garlic cloves (or less depending on taste)
Several pinches of sea salt
1/4 cup combined fresh sage, oregano, thyme (or your favorite culinary herbs)
Fresh squeezed lemon juice to taste
1. Put the greens, herbs, olive oil and seeds into the food processor and blend into a paste.
2. Add a pinch of sea salt and squeeze in the fresh lemon juice and blend.
3. Taste and add more sea salt or lemon juice, if needed.
4. Store in a container in the refrigerator and use up throughout the week or freeze to use throughout the year.