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Summer Herbal Pesto

Herbal Pesto

Cooling + Demulcent Herb Recipes

​Pesto is a classic summer sauce that traditionally utilizes one of my absolute favorite garden herbs - basil. Basil is cooling, moistening, and carminative making it a welcomed herbal addition to almost any summer culinary lineup. The spice zest of basil supports our digestion, while the cooling and moistening properties of the tender leaves bring energetic balance to our systems during the hot months.

Though I love (and I repeat love), the classic version of this dish, in recent years I've begun to switch things up a bit, adding other garden herbals to the mix. Almost any bright green herb you'll find in the garden this summer can be considered a cooling plant, which as I mentioned above, is exactly the vibe we're going for on our summer tables. Seasonal eating is no new concept and has been utilized throughout all cultures across the world basically since the beginning of time. Many of the herbs and foods that we find abundant in North America during this time of year also double as cooling (and sometimes moistening) plants bringing greater balance to our lives. For more information on the fine points of seasonal energetic cooking, I turn to the classic healing traditions such as TCM and Ayurveda to bring greater insight into this classic way of preparing foods.

Adding different types of summer herbals into your pesto not only gives it a fresh and funky flavor (hello oregano and rosemary for meats and pasta, and tarragon/ chives/dill for fish) - but when you increase the diversity of plants in your pesto, you also bring all the additional health benefits that those herbs come with.

Garden-Fresh Herbals

This recipe calls for a combination of garden-fresh herbs. I've picked the herbs below with a fish dish in mind, making sure to feature what I have growing on hand.

Herbal Pesto Recipe


1-cup assorted garden-fresh herbals such as:

3/4 cup basil

1 sprig tarragon

3-5 chives

2 sprig fennel (I would also use Chervil if I had it)

2-3 cloves of garlic

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts

Fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon squeezed)

¼ - ½ tsp Salt

Optional: ¼ cup parmesan or nutritional yeast (for a vegan version)


Roughly chop garlic, add to a food processor with nuts, and pulse for 3-5 seconds. Add herbs and pulse slowly adding oil, stirring if needed as you go. Add salt (and cheese if using) and continue to pulse. Store in a glass jar and cover with olive to preserve for 1 month.

Note: The information is for educational, historical, and research purposes, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this site should not be used as medical advice. If you have a medical concern please seek out a qualified health care professional, and always consult your physician before adding herbal supplements into your diet, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or on medication.

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