If you hear “pesto” and think of the vibrant green paste made from basil, pine nuts, and olive oil, you’re not wrong. But the word pesto comes from the Italian pestare, which means “to pound or crush,” and is used to refer to any sauce that is made by pounding the ingredients together — usually with a mortar and pestle. (Yes, they have the same root!)
Pesto can be a fantastic tool in your food-waste-fighting arsenal. As long as you follow the same basic ratio of leafy herbs, oil, nuts or seeds, hard cheese, garlic, and salt, you can use whatever leftover bits and pieces you have in hand to make your own pesto. Think parsley-walnut, cilantro-pepita, kale-pecan…the possibilities are endless!
Then use it as a pasta sauce, a sandwich spread, to liven up a soup, as a dressing for a grain bowl, or eat it straight from the jar with some toasted day-old bread. (We won’t judge.)