Our basil is huge this summer! Basil is my favorite herb to grow. It’s pretty hardy and can be used in so many recipes. You can even use the flowers on basil plants for tea or to dress up a salad.
Since we have so much basil (and I hate seeing good things go to waste), I decided to try my hand at a few pesto recipes. A classic pesto recipe calls for olive oil, basil leaves, garlic cloves, parmesan cheese and pine nuts. But I wanted something different. So here’s my nutty pesto recipe, which you can add to chicken, asparagus and sweet potatoes like I did or even just freeze in ice trays and save for any future recipe you need a little pesto for.
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1 cup fresh basil leaves
2-3 tablespoons of almond oil (olive oil also works)
1 garlic clove, mashed
2-3 tablespoons of cashews and/or walnuts
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 chicken breasts (I prefer organic, like Bell & Evans chicken), cut into bite sized pieces
1 small bunch of asparagus, chop into bite sized pieces
1 sweet potato, skinned and chopped into bite sized pieces
*This recipe makes enough for 2-3 people.
In a medium sized pot, bring to a boil about 3 cups of water (or just enough to cover the bottom with about an inch of water). Place cut and peeled sweet potatoes in pot and cover with lid. I use a stack and steam pot so while the sweet potatoes are steaming below, I place in the upper part the cut asparagus. Occasionally check the water on the bottom part as it cooks to make sure it doesn’t run out and start burning the potatoes.
In a food processor, add the garlic, basil leaves, oil, parmesan cheese and nuts. Blend till all mixed together and it forms a paste. Viola! You got pesto!
Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium-high heat place some olive oil and then your chopped chicken. Occasional stir till pieces are evenly cooked.
Check the asparagus about 5 minutes after the water started boiling. Try a piece (but don’t burn your mouth) to make sure it’s cooked (should have a bright green look and a slight crunch, if it’s mushy you cooked too long). The sweet potatoes will most likely be done about 5-10 minutes after the water started boiling as well. To test, use a fork to poke into one of the pieces. It should go through the middle easily (you don’t want the sweet potato to be too soft…we’re not making mashed!) Drain the water.
By now the chicken should be done. Cut one piece in half with a fork to make sure it’s cooked through. Drain out any juices in the skillet from the chicken (I like to use the lid to cap over but just a sliver on the bottom for the juices to pour out but you keep the chicken in the skillet). Add the asparagus, sweet potato and pesto. Give a few good stirs and then serve.