Memorial Day kicks off the summer, and all the delicious summer produce! We are using the first tomatoes of summer to make a fun and delicious dish that is easy to make and looks impressive. We don’t often call for you to buy packaged items, but if you are pressed for time – you can be a label detective and purchase the one with the most recognizable ingredients, without excess sugar, salt and fat. BUT if you have time the Easy Basil Pesto recipe below is delicious!

Basil is the integral herb in this pesto. It brings deep green flavor and nutrition as well! Many people actually grow basil in their garden so this recipe is a great way to use up that wonderful herb. Both sweet and holy basil (a certain variety of basil) have a long history of medicinal use. A few studies in people suggest benefits for blood sugar and stress, though more research is necessary. Basil provides some calcium, Vitamin K, and a range of antioxidants.  Sweet basil, for example, has a high concentration of the chemical agent eugenol. This gives it a clove-like scent. Lime and lemon basils have high concentrations of limonene, which give them a citrusy scent. Both eugenol and limonene have antioxidant properties.

Farro Pesto Salad in Tomatoes

  • ½ Cup *Easy Basil Pesto OR “Store Bought” Pesto
  • 2 TB Lemon Juice
  • 2 TB Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup Chopped Kalamata Olives
  • 8 Mozzarella Balls Quartered
  • 2 Handfuls Arugula
  • 8 OZ Cooked Farro or Quinoa
  • Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Small Round Tomatoes, hollowed out

Whisk the Pesto, lemon juice and oil together in a large bowl. Add the farro, tomatoes, cheese and arugula. Toss well and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cut the top off small round tomatoes and scoop out the inside. (Don’t throw that goodness away – save for soup, tomato sauce or put in your veggies stock bag. Stuff the farro pesto salad into the tomatoes.

*Easy Basil Pesto

  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • ¼ Cup Toasted Pine Nuts or Walnuts
  • 1 TB Lemon Juice
  • 2 – 3 Cups Basil, packed
  • ¾ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

Place the garlic, tahini and lemon juice in the food processor bowl and whiz until pureed. Add the pine nuts or walnuts and basil and pulse to blend. With the machine running, pour the olive oil in a steady stream into the bowl, process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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