Fresh 7-Herb Pesto

Fresh 7-Herb Pesto

According to the calendar, we’re nearing the end of summer – and my veggie garden knows it. Tomatoes have almost disappeared, squash left me weeks ago, eggplant is out of production and I’ve used up all my carrots, radishes and onions. But my chard and herbs are partying like it’s 1999.

7 herbs

And – for the record – this is officially “The Year of the Pepper”. All varieties in my heirloom pepper garden have absolutely killed it this year. The harvest was and still is bountiful and beautiful. If you’re following me on INSTA then you know all about my peppers!

cheese + peppers

But we’re not talking about peppers today – today it’s all about Garden Fresh 7-Herb Pesto! Pesto is such an easy and delicious recipe to make.

There are 2 reasons pesto is a gardener’s BFF (1) it makes use of some of the most dependable + productive parts of the garden (2) it’s a perfect way to preserve summer produce so that it can be enjoyed all Fall and Winter long.

For this recipe, I decided to go a little untraditional by including 7 types of my garden-fresh herbs, freshly picked chard and a few types of nuts/seeds I had in my pantry. Feel free to sub and add according to what you have on hand and what you love.

The key to a perfect pesto is proper proportions.

emily – Food for a Year
7-herb pesto in jar

The Bones of a Perfect Pesto ::

So let me share the bones of a pesto recipe and then I’ll share the specifics of my 7-Herb Pesto down below.

  • 4 oz hard cheese (like parmesan)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 6 oz toasted nuts
  • 3 c packed herbs + greens
  • olive oil to desired consistency
  • s + p to taste

Feel free to add spicy peppers, lemon zest, onions etc. to this skeleton recipe, just be sure to keep these ratios in mind.

For this recipe, the majority of my greens were made up of freshly picked chard and every type of herb growing happily in my garden ::

  • chives
  • rosemary
  • oregano
  • thyme
  • parsley
  • sage
  • basil

I also added toasted walnuts, almonds and sunflower seeds + Parmesan and Manchego plus 1 hot pepper and 1 sweet pepper (because this is “the year of the pepper”!). Feel free to sub whatever nuts and hard cheese are handy.

toasted nuts

Pro Tip #1 ::

In making pesto – it’s important to add the greens AFTER pulverizing the cheese, nuts and garlic ( whether herbs or leafy greens) to help maintain the bright green colors in your pesto.

I love this 7-Herb Pesto! At first bite, I got a nice balance of herby + nutty flavors, a little bitterness from the chard and just the faintest pop of heat, thanks to that hot pepper add-in.

Pro Tip #2 ::

Speaking of bitterness, if it’s the end of the summer season, herbs and greens tend to impart a little more bitterness than I prefer. In order to combat the bitterness, I like to add 1 teaspoon of honey after tasting. Give the pesto one more pulse in the food processor and then it’s ready to serve!

graze board with pesto

Fresh 7-Herb Pesto

  • 4 oz Parmesan or Manchego (I used a combination of both)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 6 oz toasted nuts (I used a combination of toasted walnuts, toasted slivered almonds and roasted sunflower seeds)
  • 1 green onion (white part only), optional
  • 3 c packed herbs + greens (see above for the combinations I used)
  • 1 hot red pepper (about 1 T total)
  • 1 sweet red pepper (about 2 T total)
  • s+p to taste (approx. 1-1.5 t sea salt and 1/2 t pepper)
  • 2 c extra virgin olive oil (more or less to desired consistency)
  • 1 t honey (to counterbalance bitterness if present)

In a food processor, combine cheese, garlic, toasted nuts and the white of one green onion. Pulse to combine and create a paste-like consistency.

Add herbs and greens. While pulsing, drizzle in 1 c olive oil (through the opening in the lid). Add peppers, continue pulsing and drizzling oil to reach desired consistency.

Season to taste and add honey if necessary. Pulse to combine.

Serve immediately or cap with olive oil and store in a lidded jar in the refrigerator. To store, cap off the pesto with olive oil after each use. This prevents oxidizing and allows the pesto to be stored for several months.

Makes approximately 3 cups.

Check out this variation on pesto – HERE.