One batch of my homemade pesto can easily supplement a week's worth of meals, so here are some of my favorite ways to use it.


Nothing says summer like fresh pesto. Now is the time you can easily buy basil in bulk (or grow your own!) and create this simple and tasty sauce in a matter of minutes. This week we are going to make all pesto, all the time. One batch of pesto can easily supplement a week’s worth of meals, so here are some of my favorite ways to use it. Note that I don’t put pine nuts in my pesto. I don’t use them because they are incredibly expensive, and I think the sauce tastes just fine without them. You could, however, use them if you want to or substitute them for some other nut, such as walnuts.

Grocery list:
8 ounces whole-wheat linguine (or spaghetti)
3/4 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 cups fresh basil leaves
1 lemon
4 (5-ounce) salmon fillets, preferably wild
1 jar chopped kalamata olives
1 bag Parmesan cheese
6 garlic cloves
2 zucchini
1 eggplant
2 red bell peppers
1 can giant lima beans (Or prepare 1 cup dry beans.)
Arborio rice
Chopped walnuts


Easy Homemade Pesto
This no-fail recipe yields enough pesto to make meals for the entire week. You can add toasted pine nuts or walnuts if you like, but this budget-friendly version still tastes great without them.

6 cups packed basil leaves
1 cup olive oil, divided
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
6 garlic cloves

Combine the basil, garlic, and two tablespoons of oil in a high-speed blender or food processor. Blend on high until everything is smooth and combined. Then, with the blender on low speed, slowly stream in the remaining oil, along with the lemon juice and cheese. Taste and then season with salt and pepper.


Linguine With Shrimp and Pesto
This is the perfect summer pasta dish. I love to serve it to a crowd. Since the recipe calls for only four ingredients and is easy to prepare, I can spend time with my guests instead of slaving away in the kitchen.
Serves 4

8 ounces whole-wheat linguine (or spaghetti)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup pesto
Extra Parmesan cheese for serving
Black pepper for serving

Cook the pasta according to package directions and then set aside. In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook for about 4 minutes, or until shrimp have turned pink and started to curl at the edges. Be careful not to overcook—these guys don’t take long!

In a large serving bowl, add the pasta and about 1/4 cup of the pesto and shrimp. Toss well and sprinkle with extra cheese and pepper while serving.

Grilled Salmon With Pesto and Olives
A great spin on plain salmon on the grill. Leftovers are wonderful in a salad or on a sandwich topped with some soft goat cheese.
Serves 4

4 (5-ounce) salmon fillets, preferably wild
1/4 cup homemade pesto
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives

In a shallow dish, spoon the pesto over the salmon fillets to coat completely. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set in fridge to marinate for 1 hour.

While the salmon is marinating, heat the grill. Sprinkle one tablespoon of chopped olives over each pesto-covered fillet and grill for about 7 to 10 minutes, or until cooked through. I prefer my salmon to be medium/rare, which takes about 5 minutes per each side, but if you like your fish more well done, leave it on longer.

Serve alongside rice pilaf and grilled veggies.

Vegetable Risotto With Pesto Swirl
The French refer to pesto as pistou,” and they love to stir it in soups and stews, as well as spread it on chewy slices of French bread. I like the flavor that the pesto gives this risotto—it really enhances the dish!
Serves 4

2 small zucchini, diced
2 cups diced eggplant
2 small red bell peppers, diced
2 cups giant lima beans
1.5 cups arborio rice
1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
4 tablespoons chopped walnuts
4 cups water, approximate
Sea salt/hot chili flakes to taste
4 tablespoons homemade pesto

In a large saucepan, combine everything except the walnuts and pesto. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, and let cook until the rice has absorbed the water (stir a few times). This will take about 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add the walnuts, and top each bowl with 1 tablespoon pesto.

People say you have to constantly stir risotto, but I rarely do. It takes too long. I just let it cook, and it always works!