Oil for Basil Pesto

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lizab, Jan 26, 8:27am
I have heaps and heaps of basil growing in my veggie garden just now and want to make my own pesto.

Would it be ok to use a lighter tasting oil rather than using olive oil? Maybe a grapeseed oil instead? Whenever I've made homemade mayo for instance, I really don't like the taste of the olive oil in it.

I do love the prepared pesto you can buy in the chilled section of the supermarket, but have never made my own.

Thanks in advance :)

cookessentials, Jan 26, 8:28am
What about a lighter olive oil?

cookessentials, Jan 26, 8:31am
You can use other oil, but you will lose alot of the flavour you get from pesto using olive oil. What type of olive oil have you used previously?

lizab, Jan 26, 8:32am
Delmaine I think - I find it really strong. Thanks for the comment, maybe I should just try a lighter olive oil - durr me!!! lol :)

luvwine, Jan 26, 8:38am
yes any oil will be fine, just make sure you like the taste of it!try rice bran fora light flavour or avocado for something different, or50/50 or 25/75 with olive oil, Also as cookessentiels mentioned do not use extra virgin, but try 'light' olive oil(it means it has a lighter flavour, not any difference in the calorie etc)

p.s. try adding more lemon zest/rind if you still find the oil flavour not to your taste

lizab, Jan 26, 8:43am
Thank you luvwine - I'm going grocery shopping tomorrow and am keen to get the pesto made while the basil is looking so beautiful and healthy :)

martine5, Jan 26, 8:47am
I have made it in the past with about 25% olive oil and 75% canola and I think it is fine.While I am a huge fan of olive oil I can't do it 100% in pesto aand think 100% canola would be okay but make would suggest staying true to the remaining ingredients.By this I mean roast your pinenuts and don't use jarred garlic or parmesan.I hope you enjoy it.

elliehen, Jan 26, 9:26am
Maybe try a fresh local olive oil?

fisher, Jan 26, 10:51am
Maybe try this one...
An outstanding basil based 'sauce' that goes very well with pasta and savory snacks
* 2 cups fresh basil leaves
* 1/3 cup olive oil
* 2 cloves of garlic, minced
* 2 tbsp of pinenuts or walnuts
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese.

Add sundried tomatoes for that extra added flavour for a change..

Blend the chopped basil, oil, garlic and nuts at high speed until pureed. Pour mixture into a bowl and thoroughly mix in salt and parmesan cheese.Serve your pesto with hot drained pasta, with baked pumpkin or with hot jacket potatoes.
Your pesto sauce can be kept in the refrigerator or it can be frozen.

timetable, Jan 26, 1:31pm
i did some on tue and just used olive oil - lupi variety... heaps of basil, about 150gms dry roasted almonds, about a cup of grated edam cheese and 150mls olive oil, clove of crushed garlic and a dash of lemon juice... the best i have ever tasted lol even if i do say so myself!!its is really scrummy..... cheap as chips to make....

lilyfield, Jan 26, 6:09pm
and here is my budget version.
Use any oil, cheapest cheese andsunflower seeds. Love it just the same.

greerg, Jan 26, 6:55pm
Fisher I see you use suggest walnuts in place of pinenuts.Is it vastly different?Pinenuts are so vilely expensive now.

suie1, Jan 26, 7:38pm
When using pinenuts be careful because the ones coming from China can cause a bitter after taste in the mouth for up to 2 weeks, it happened to me yukky!

cookessentials, Jan 26, 8:32pm
If you have never tried mint pesto, give it a go, it is beautiful and i actually prefer it to Basil pesto. Also, when in Noosa, there is a lady at the market in Weyba Road that makes a delicious macadamia pesto.

fisher, Jan 26, 9:56pm
some others....
Pistachio Mint Pesto:
1/2 cup pistachio nuts40g mint leaves2 cloves garlic - crushed1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese4 tbsp olive oil
Place all ingredients in blender and blend until very finely chopped and paste forms.
Capsicumand Cashew Pesto:
4 red capsicums (roasted and skinned),1/2 cup cashew nuts, toasted2 cloves garlic1/4 cup olive oilpinch salt to taste
Place all ingredients in blender and blend until very finely chopped and paste forms.
Coriander and Lime Pesto:
1 cup packed fresh coriander sprigs, washed and dried1/2 cup packed fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves, washed and dried1/4 cup walnuts, toasted brown and cooled.
1/3 cup olive oil3 tbsp freshly grated parmesan1/4 tsp freshly grated lime zest.Place all ingredients in blender and blend until very finely chopped and paste forms.

maryteatowel1, Jan 26, 9:59pm
...i make a watercress pesto with a light olive oil...it has a peppery flavour...one of my favourites!!!...often i do a 50/50 split with pinenuts and cashew nuts if the budget is a bit tight...dh doesn't like walnuts so unless i'm feeling really greedy i don't use them...you can quickly blanch your basil, spin it in a 'salad washer' and freeze it down if you have too much all at once...i have a 2x2 metre garden just for basil and i have just replanted it for the third and last time this summer...

fisher, Jan 26, 10:03pm
I just use a whole "Pams 70g walnut pieces" pack...
I got a bag of pinenuts from the bins the other day to refill my jar and it was 10+ dollars odd... near fell over.. expensive as you say so will have to use more sparingly but i do like my basil pesto..:}

fifie, Jan 26, 10:07pm
M y recipe is similar always use walnuts and its great. Trouble with me is can't get the basil to grow quick enough for next batch in the cooler temperatures here, even the grandees like nanas pasta with the green stuff lol...

patmcg, Jan 27, 12:42am
Thanks for all the great suggestions have grown lots of Basil but when I went to get the pine nuts I changes my mind they we just too expensive something like 11.37 for 100g so gave up on the idea but now I know you can use other nuts I may give it another try.

suzanna, Jan 27, 12:51am
MMMmmm basil pesto and Fisher love your work re the sauce which we had with thin slices warm ciabatta sort of as a dip. Didn't do the bourbons but did do a fantastic Waipara reisling.I make pesto and freeze out of anything that's in abundance at the time...parsley, mint, coriander, sometimes a mix. I have found a good source of broken cashews (yes okay I've had all the old 'flake' jokes re the sweepings off the floor etc) for $10 kilo either raw or salted so that's what I use and sometimes almonds which are $14 kilo. Gave up on pine nuts when they hit $94 kilo. Ended up with over 12 kg all up in freezer last season which was fantastic to use all year without the insane prices commanded in the supermarkets.

lyndyhopper, Jan 27, 2:31am
whats your secret to growing lush basil?

gardie, Jan 27, 3:02am
What the secret to stopping homemade pesto from browning?Even when I cover the whole top with oil, it still goes brown.

lyl_guy, Jan 27, 7:57am
I have a huge bush of lush basil in the vege garden.Used a 'vege mix' soil on top of the topsoil, water almost daily in the summer, and have been pinching off the 'flowering' heads of basil.... have a huge crop now from one plant... will have to get making pesto... with WALNUTS thanks to this thread!

lizab, Jan 30, 7:20am
I made some the other day using this recipe posted by bellus_sybarite. It was the absolute correct consistency. I used Delmaine's light olive oil, but I could still 'taste' that yukky olive oil taste at the back of my throat, so will try again in a few days with either grapeseed or canola oil I think. Nothing lost, it's still very edible and I still have heaps of basil growing happily :)

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese or Romano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
2 - 3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Special equipment needed: A food processor
Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.
Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Makes approximately 1 cup

Edited to add a big thank you to the posters above :)

andrea1978, Jan 30, 10:49am
i've used a mix of basil, rocket & italian parsley before.would like to try pistachio nuts, that sounds yum!