Pumpkin Seed Pesto

This time last year I ate pesto. Lots and lots and lots of pesto. I remember it well because it was Labor Day week. We were on vacation, but it wasn't really vacation because we had a 3 month old that never, ever, ever, ever slept.

I had loads of basil from the Farmers' Market and made a bucketful of pesto. And since breastfeeding makes me ravenous, I ate all the pesto. And then had the most horrifically bitter taste in my mouth ALL WEEK LONG. I thought I was losing my mind (the lack of sleep only enhanced this feeling). No matter what I did, what I ate, what I drank, what I chewed...the terrible metallic taste clung to the back of my throat.

At this point in motherhood, I was pretty awesome at internet research (new moms make the best Googlers), so I Googled the shit out my new affliction, and eventually came up with this: Pine Nut Mouth. This sounds like a joke. It's not. You can read more about it here if you really want to.

Now I'm not sure if the poison was in the dose (remember, I ate a bucketful) or if it was a specific type of pine nut that wronged me, but either way - I haven't eaten a pine nut since. I just can't even.

Thing is, I love pesto. And with this recent hot weather, I've been getting a lot of fresh basil. Pesto is traditionally made with fresh basil, fresh garlic, olive oil, Parmesan cheese and pine nuts. Since pine nuts now make my mouth taste like acid, I've subbed in a different type of seed. I've left out the cheese to make it dairy free (equally delicious in my opinion). I've also jazzed it up with some lemon zest, because citrus zest rules.

Try it out while the basil is still poppin'!

Pumpkin Seed Pesto

1 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup soaked raw pumpkin seeds*

1 clove garlic

Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 tsp)

1 tsp lemon zest (you can read why adding zest to food is a good idea here)

1/4 tsp sea salt

*This isn't a necessary step. You can use regular raw pumpkin seeds. I like to soak mine overnight - better for digestion and I prefer the softer texture for this pesto.

Blend all ingredients in a blender. You may need to use a damper or spatula to scrape down the side of the blender. The end result should be a thick paste. Add more olive oil if you prefer a thinner pesto. Keep in sealed airtight container (like a mason jar) for 3-4 days.


Read here for 5 Pasta-Free Ways to Eat Pesto!