A Moosewood Pesto Recipe: Embracing the Greens

When it comes to classic and versatile sauces, pesto is a true superstar in the world of culinary delights. With its vibrant green hue and aromatic blend of herbs and nuts, pesto can elevate the flavor of countless dishes. In this article, we’re about to embark on a culinary journey that will take you to the Moosewood Restaurant, renowned for its vegetarian and vegan cuisine. We’ll explore a Moosewood Pesto Recipe that celebrates the richness of fresh herbs and the simplicity of nature’s bounty.

The Magic of Moosewood

Before we dive into the Moosewood pesto recipe, let’s take a moment to appreciate the ethos of Moosewood. Located in Ithaca, New York, the Moosewood Restaurant is a vegetarian and vegan haven that has been serving delicious, plant-based dishes for decades. Known for its commitment to using fresh, local ingredients, Moosewood’s recipes emphasize both health and sustainability.

Ingredients for Moosewood Pesto

To recreate the Moosewood magic in your kitchen, you’ll need the following ingredients for their delightful pesto:


  • 2 cups of fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup of fresh parsley leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro leaves, packed


  • 1/2 cup of pine nuts (you can also use walnuts or almonds)


  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (use a vegetarian alternative for a vegan version)
  • 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • A pinch of red pepper flakes (adjust to your spice preference)

Making the Moosewood Pesto

Now, let’s delve into the delightful process of making Moosewood’s vibrant pesto. The following steps will guide you through crafting this luscious sauce that can enhance your pasta, sandwiches, and more:

Step 1: Toast the Nuts

  1. Begin by toasting the pine nuts (or other nuts of your choice) in a dry skillet over medium heat. Keep an eye on them and stir occasionally until they turn golden and release their nutty aroma. This should take about 5 minutes.

Step 2: Prep the Herbs

  1. Wash and pat dry the fresh basil, parsley, and cilantro leaves.
  2. Remove any tough stems, as they can make the pesto taste bitter.

Step 3: Blend the Ingredients

  1. In a food processor, combine the toasted nuts, garlic, and the grated Parmesan cheese.
  2. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped.

Step 4: Add the Greens and More

  1. Add the prepared basil, parsley, and cilantro leaves to the food processor.
  2. Squeeze in the juice of one lemon, and add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a hint of spice.
  3. With the food processor running, slowly pour in the extra-virgin olive oil until the pesto reaches your desired consistency.
  4. Taste the pesto and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Step 5: Serve and Enjoy

  1. Your Moosewood-inspired pesto is now ready to add a burst of flavor to your favorite dishes.
  2. Spoon it over freshly cooked pasta, use it as a sandwich spread, or enjoy it as a dipping sauce for bread and vegetables.

A Burst of Freshness and Flavor

Moosewood’s pesto recipe celebrates the vibrancy of fresh herbs and the richness of nuts, making it a true flavor explosion. The combination of basil, parsley, and cilantro adds a unique depth to the sauce, while the toasty notes of pine nuts create a perfect balance. Whether you’re a vegetarian, a vegan, or simply a lover of great food, this Moosewood-inspired pesto is a delightful addition to your culinary repertoire.

For more ideas, recipes, and cooking tips and tricks, please visit us at Chengdu Food Trail.

FAQs for Moosewood Pesto Recipe

Q1: Can I make this pesto ahead of time and store it?

Absolutely! Store your pesto in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To prevent oxidation and maintain its vibrant color, you can drizzle a thin layer of olive oil on top.

Q2: Are there any nut alternatives for this pesto?

Certainly! While pine nuts are traditional, you can use walnuts, almonds, or even cashews to achieve a different flavor profile.

Q3: Can I make a vegan version of this Moosewood pesto?

Yes, simply substitute a vegetarian Parmesan cheese or use nutritional yeast for a dairy-free, vegan-friendly version.

Q4: What can I pair this pesto with for a meal?

Moosewood pesto is incredibly versatile. You can toss it with pasta, spread it on sandwiches, use it as a dip for fresh vegetables, or even drizzle it over grilled vegetables and tofu.

Q5: Can I freeze this pesto for future use?

Yes, pesto freezes well. Divide it into small portions, place it in ice cube trays, freeze, and then transfer the pesto cubes to a freezer-safe bag or container. This makes it easy to portion out for future meals.