Locavore Basil Pesto

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Category : Recipes, Sauces and Dips, Vegetarian

Locavore Basil PestoHere’s the challenge which was the starting point for this basil pesto recipe:

Fresh basil is abundantly available right now, and I love basil pesto on pasta. But how do I make basil pesto without olive oil, which is not produced locally?

Olive oil has been one of the most difficult non-local ingredients to work around, for me at least.  I previously used olive oil in nearly everything. I’ve been able to substitute local butter for sauteing, carmelizing onions, etc. But for pesto? I like pasta with butter, salt and pepper, so it wasn’t out of the question. I knew this was going to take some experimentation.

Here’s the recipe that resulted. Ultimately, I didn’t miss the olive oil at all! See what you think.

  • Prep Time:
    10 min
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready In:
    10 min
Servings: Approx. 2-1/2 cups
  • 2 cups fresh basil, loosely packed (The Growing Garden, Bellingham)
  • 2 cloves green garlic, coarsely chopped (Rabbit Fields Farm, Everson)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted (Breckinridge Farm, Everson)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (Bellewood Acres, Lynden)
  • 1/4 cup water (or as needed)
  • 3/4 cup hazelnuts, whole (Holmquist Hazelnut Orchards, Lynden)
  • 2 oz. gouda cheese, finely grated (Pleasant Valley Dairy, Ferndale)
  • salt (see Exceptions)


Put basil, green garlic, melted butter and apple cider vinegar in food processor or blender. Puree, adding water as needed. Be careful not to overdo it. Mixture should have a stiff consistency, and not be runny. You may have to use a spatula to work ingredients down into the cutting bowl.

Grind hazelnuts in coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. Stir into basil mixture.

Add grated cheese, and season with salt to taste.

The proportions of these ingredients may need to be varied, depending on the flavor of the basil you are using. Feel free to adjust as necessary.

Serving Suggestions:

I served the pesto on fettuccine made by Bellingham Pasta, and topped the dish with fresh chopped tomatoes from Cloud Mountain Farm (Everson). Artichokes with Sour Cream Oregano Dip go well on the side.

This also makes a good pizza sauce–see Locavore Pizza recipe.

Food Sources:

Community Food Co-operative, Westerly and Cordata, Bellingham
Terra Organica, Flora and Cornwall, Bellingham

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