Oregano Pesto

IMG_8102Our once small oregano plant has turned into a full fledged shrub, overtaking everything else that was planted around it. In order to restore balance to our perennial herb garden, a good pruning was in order. But what to do with what ended up as four packed cups of oregano leaves? How about pesto! We’ve made many a pesto in our time, but never oregano pesto. Google provided lots of variations to choose from, so in the end we went with an eclectic recipe that turned out fantastic.

Oregano Pesto
Yields 2 Cups
Four packed cups of fresh oregano leaves (stems removed, washed, and squeezed dry)
2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary (needles only)
4 Cloves Garlic (peeled)
1/2 Cup Walnut Oil
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds (hulled and unsalted)
1/2 Tsp. Kosher Salt
1/4 Tsp. Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Put the oregano leaves, rosemary, garlic, sunflower seeds, and salt in a medium bowl and using a hand mixer (or food processor) puree while adding the oil. Add enough oil to get to a spreadable consistency. The consistency will initially be a bit more stringy than traditional pesto made with basil, but it will smooth out eventually.

IMG_8087This recipe made enough to fill two 8oz. canning jars. To store more than a few days, place in small containers or ice cube trays, pour a bit of oil over the top, freeze, then pop out (if using the trays) into zip lock bags. If this is going into the fridge to use within the next few days, just cover the top of the pesto with a bit of olive oil to prevent oxidation.

IMG_8093Some great variations on this recipe:
– Add 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
– Do a 50/50 mix of Oregano and Basil