I’ve always wanted to be really good at growing my own food. My husband Charlie and I have a few raised garden beds in our backyard, and over the years we’ve made many attempts at growing different things. However, even though we’ve tried companion planting, used our fair share of neem oil, as well as other options like cayenne and dish soap, New Orleans pests have continually beat our growing attempts and have consumed most of our bounty.
There are, however, a few things we are always able to get amazing stock from. We have rosemary year round, and sometimes we do well with an assortment of hot peppers. Most importantly, our basil always flourishes! I’m obsessed with making different kinds of pesto, and buying fresh basil from the grocery store can be very expensive, so being able to grow our own basil and see it thrive is super exciting!
We currently have a Thai basil bush that is almost as tall as I am, so we’ve been making this pesto recipe on repeat just to make sure our plant doesn’t bolt and we can continue to have the basil grow in our garden for as long as possible!
If you have Thai basil growing and you haven’t been sure what to do with it, or you’ve seen it at the store and wondered how you could use it, give this recipe a go! Thai basil tends to have a little spicier flavor as opposed to sweet basil that you might use in a traditional Italian pesto, so this recipe lends itself to more of an Asian inspired flavor pallet.
It’s super easy to make, everything just get’s placed in a blender (I always mention this, but I love my VitaMix! You’ll want a high powered blender, or you can alternatively use a food processor or immersion blender.)
My favorite way to use this pesto is putting it on top of pan fried tofu. It’s a super simple dish, but the flavors are perfect! To cook the tofu, I make sure to press the excess water out first with a cloth or paper towels, and then cut the tofu into cubes. (I prefer to use extra firm tofu!) I use about a teaspoon of olive oil, heat it in a non stick pan on medium heat, and then toss my tofu in there. I'm very methodical about this process, but I flip each piece on every side so every part turns a golden brown. Usually by the time all are flipped to one side, that side has browned enough to begin flipping to the next side. Once all sides are browned to your liking, put on a plate and top with this pesto and you're all set!
There are endless other ideas on how you can use this pesto…use it as a dip for spring rolls or dumplings, put on rice noodles with stir fried vegetables, add some flavor by adding a dollop to basic cooked brown rice....the list goes on!
(I originally got inspiration for this recipe here!)
Prep time: 5 mins
Total time: 5 mins
2 cups fresh basil (I really pack mine in there!)
1/4 cup dry roasted almonds (I roast mine in the oven for 7-9 mins at 350° and let cool before using)
3 tbls sesame oil
3 large cloves of garlic (I prefer to pre-mince mine in a garlic press)
1 1/4 tbls rice vinegar
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbls maple syrup
1 tsp tamari sauce(alternatively you can use soy sauce if you aren’t gluten free)
the juice of one lime
add salt to taste
1. Place all your ingredients in a blender and blend until your preferred consistency! I like to blend it until just before smooth, so some of the almonds bits are still there for texture.
Use right after blending, or store in Tupperware in the refrigerator for up to a week and a half.