Got herbs? Make fresh pesto straight from the garden | The Kitchen Goddess

·3 min read
Turn your garden's fresh summer herbs into delicious pesto.
Turn your garden's fresh summer herbs into delicious pesto.

Want to know how to use the herbs in your garden, or utilize unused herbs you buy for a particular recipe? My garden is popping right now with green goodness.

Currently in the herb department of my garden bed grows sage, rosemary, thyme, basil, pineapple sage, tarragon, lemon balm, oregano, mint, dill, chives, cilantro and parsley. I use them here and there in cooking when needed, but mostly they are candy for the senses.

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They look and smell beautiful. To me herbs add a dimension to recipes and cooking that give a sparkly, divine quality to the food. To use herbs, I feel connected to past traditions, and to older times and ways.

My grandmother always had herbs growing in pots on her deck. At meal preparation time she would take her kitchen scissors and snip bits of this and that herb to add to a dish she was making.

At the very least, she always had dill, marjoram, thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary and parsley growing, depending on the season and would use them regularly. A little dill and thyme would be added to the cucumber soup. Some oregano, basil, thyme and parsley to the ratatouille.

And all of that along with marjoram, savory, and sage would be dried and used to make an herb mix shaker for meats, fish and vegetables.

She was the first person who taught me to make pesto and she would make it by finely chopping the herbs and garlic, and then adding the olive oil and parmesan to make delicious sauce for pasta or fish. No food processor for her!

Pesto means “pounded," and the traditional way to make it is with a mortar and pestle. I have a small bullet I typically use when I want to quickly whip some up. Normally, I make pesto with walnuts, spinach and basil but when I have a ton of herbs in the garden, I go for a mix of different herbs, garlic, olive oil and sea salt and forgo the nuts.

I love the fresh herby smell and bright flavor. Sometimes I try out different combinations of herbs but mostly I throw it all in and blend away.

Below is the recipe I have recently been using. Amounts are suggestions but use what works for you. We spoon it on steamed vegetables, potatoes or fish. Just the other day I added my pesto to a wrap with avocado, tomato and cucumber, and it was divine!

The Kitchen Goddess’ Garden Pesto 

1-2 cups fresh herbs (any combination will do) - I used sage, rosemary, thyme, basil, pineapple sage, lemon balm, oregano, dill, chives, and parsley but use what you have even if it is only a few different types.

1-2 garlic cloves

¼ cup or more Olive oil

Himalayan salt to taste

Put everything in your food processor, bullet or blender and pulse until chopped. Add more olive oil if needed. Adjust salt to taste.

Jill Welch is a natural foods educator and chef with more than 25 years of experience in helping people improve their diet and lifestyle. For more information, visit at

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This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Presto, it's pesto: Turn summer's bounty into brilliant sauce