In my garden (if you can call 3 large planters a garden), there is never enough basil and always too much sage. Ergo: Sage pesto. The secret to using sage – or any other non-basil herb, really – is to cut the pungency with parsley. I also skip the pine nuts (too pricey!) and sub in walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds…they all work well. 

The result is rich, fragrant, ‘surprising’ (as one dubious recipient of a jar said), and just as addictive as basil pesto. Really. Try it if you have a glut of sage in your garden as well – or give it a whirl with other prolific tender-leafed herbs like cilantro, mint, tarragon, or oregano. 

SAGE PESTO

1½ cups/50g sage leaves
1½ cups/50g parsley leaves
¼ cup/30g walnuts, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup/60g grated Parmesan cheese or other hard cheese
½ cup/100ml olive oil
½ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. black pepper

Pulse sage, parsley, walnuts, and garlic in food processor until finely chopped. Scrape down sides, add cheese, and pulse until finely chopped. With motor running, add oil in steady stream, and process until thick paste forms, adding more oil, if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to jar, smooth top, and cover with thin film of oil to keep fresh. Store in refrigerator up to 1 month, recovering pesto with a film of oil each time you use it.  (Optional: Clean food processor bowl with a piece of bread for a snack.) Makes 1 cup/200 – 250 ml

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