Oak & Acorn: Basil Pesto & Peas

Summer foods that are easy to grow and that kids love.

One of the foods that we love to make a lot in the summer is basil pesto. We grow a lot of basil in our garden and at this time of the year it’s very abundant. We also are very lucky that many of our farmer friends hand off some of their extras to us. I love the taste and smell of basil…it’s one of my favorite culinary herbs! It works in so many dishes and also goes well in some fruity summer drinks. Just last week, we added basil to some seltzer water with simple syrup and sour cherries that we picked from a friends tree in their backyard. It was delish!

The past couple weeks we have also been eating lots of peas, in particular sugar snap peas which happens to be a favorite snack in our house. We also picked lots of shell peas from a farm we have a CSA share with, shelled them and froze them for future use. It takes a little time to do this, but it’s always nice to have these preserved in the freezer for when a recipe calls for them, like pesto!

Shelled peas also taste really great with a pesto pasta, it’s one of my daughters favorite foods to eat. We like to make big batches of pesto and freeze them, then we get to have some of our delicious summer herbs during the winter months. A good way to freeze them is by putting them in ice trays and then putting them in a Ziploc bag.

Here is a recipe for basil pesto with peas. Usually, pesto calls for pignoli nuts. Walnuts are a good substitute or pinenuts, as they are less in cost. I like pesto with both pinenuts and walnuts, but also find that the other ingredients are so strong that it’s sometimes hard to taste the difference.

Basil pesto and pasta with peas

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 2 cups of basil leaves
  • ¼ cup of walnuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • ½ cup of shredded Parmesan
  • juice of half a lemon
  • salt and pepper to season
  • ½ cup shelled peas (optional)
  • ½ pound of fusilli pasta or pasta of choice


  • Clean basil leaves and pluck from their stems.
  • Mix basil leaves, walnuts and cloves in a food processor until course.
  • Add olive oil, Parmesan cheese and lemon.
  • Mix well till well blended.
  • Season with salt and pepper to your liking.
  • Add pesto to cooked pasta.

Source: HilltownFamilies.org


Leslie Lynn Lucio
Leslie Lynn LucioLeslie is from Texas but has always been drawn to New England. She lives in the town of Northampton and loves living in Western Massachusetts. She spends a lot of time with her five year old and connecting with the community. Her interest include cooking, DIY projects,writing, biking, being outdoors, photography, restoration, food preservation and social activism. She spends some of her time farming when she can and also you can spot her working with the Pedal People.

[Photo credits: (cc) Dawn Loh; (cc) Cheryl]

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