What to make with extra herbs, or, how I made three different herb sauces in 15 minutes in one Cuisinart bowl.
This weekend I suddenly found myself with a surplus of fresh herbs. When you have a garden, things like that just happen. One minute there’s nothing, and the next minute you’re trying to find good homes for two dozen zucchinis. Today it was herbs in which I had an abundance; my cilantro was starting to bolt, the basil was looking quite full and on the verge of becoming “leggy”, and I had a random assortment of other herbs available.
I’m not one to let things go to waste, so I decided the easiest and quickest course of action was to make several herb pastes/sauces (a.k.a. pesto/pistou). Today it would be basil pesto, chimichurri sauce, and cilantro pesto. I also wanted it to be easy so I made each sauce in succession, right in the Cuisinart food processor, without even washing it between sauces. The whole process took about 15 minutes.
For the process to be efficient, you’ll want to have the herbs clean and stripped of woody stems, garlic cloves, oil, and any other additional ingredients ready.
Note; if I were to do this again, I would have made the chimichurri last, because it’s the strongest flavored sauce. I didn’t realize how much cilantro I’d have left, which is why I made the cilantro pesto last.
First, I made basil pesto using this pesto recipe. This was basically a basil pistou; simply fresh basil, olive oil, garlic, and salt. Typically, I leave out the cheese and nuts because if I want them, they can always be added later and without them, it’s a more flexible ingredient in a vinaigrette, on a pizza, in a salad like this grain salad and this pasta salad, or on roasted vegetables.
Next, I made a chimichurri sauce. Into the Cuisinart bowl went fresh parsley, cilantro and oregano. Because I have other herbs and thought it might enhance the sauce, just for fun I added chives and a little bit of mint. Chimichurri originated in South America (Argentina and Uruguay) and is used as both a marinade and a sauce. It’s probably best described as “zesty” and differs from a simple pesto in that it has vinegar in it and some sort of chili, either dried or fresh (I used crushed red pepper flakes). I’ll have a chimichurri sauce recipe blog post sometime soon but right now I just free form it into the Cuisinart. If you want to get a general idea of what’s in the recipe, look at this Bon Appetit recipe.
Once I scraped the bowl for the Chimichurri sauce, I tossed in some garlic and the remainder of the cilantro. After a few quick pulses, I added olive oil, basically following the recipe for the basil pesto. What will I use this sauce for? Perhaps as an ingredient in a sauce or maybe in a marinade. I also think it would be good as it is on top of fish, chicken, and eggs.
So, don’t let those herbs go to waste! Get creative! In very little time and with very little effort, you can have a few delicious sauces that can be frozen or will last for several weeks in the refrigerator.
Make sure to bookmark this post or pin the image below to save it for when you find yourself with too many herbs.
Do you have similar recipes that you make so as not to waste fresh herbs? Let me know in the comments below.