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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Grow Your Own Basil Pesto

Lesson Description:
Students will grow basil and garlic. After harvesting the herbs, students will combine ingredients to make their own garden fresh basil pesto.

Eco-Fact: Research shows that eating less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium (about 1 tsp of salt) per day may reduce the risk of high blood pressure. Most of the sodium people eat comes from processed foods, not from the saltshaker.

Procedure: 
  1. Combine the basil with a pinch of salt, garlic, nuts and about ½ the oil in a food processor or blender. Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container with a spatula or spoon. Add the rest of the oil gradually. 
  2. Stir in the cheese by hand. Taste for salt. You can also add more oil if you prefer a thinner sauce. 
  3. Makes: About 2 cups 

Adaptations:

  • Make Your Own Mint Pesto: Substitute mint for basil, canola oil for olive oil, and omit the cheese. 
  • Make Your Own Arugula Pesto: Substitute arugula for basil, and omit the cheese.

Lesson Type:
  • Experiment
  • Project

Sustainability Topic:
  • Gardening

GEF Program Category:
  • Green Thumb Challenge

Materials Needed:
  • Blender or small food processor 
  • Spatula or large spoon 
  • Cheese grater 
  • Measuring cups and spoons 

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups loosely packed basil, rinsed and dried 
  • 1 clove of garlic 
  • 1 c. grated Parmesan or Romano cheese 
  • 1 c. olive oil 
  • 4 TB pine nuts or walnuts 
  • Salt to taste 
  • French or Italian bread and grilled vegetables for dipping; or, serve on pasta or as a pizza topping.

School or Group:
Green Education Foundation (GEF)
Contact Email:
service@greeneducationfoundation.org

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