Dill Pesto

Growing up in a Latvian family, dill was a key flavor in many of the meals my mother made. Now, I grow it in my own garden or, in the winter, keep a bouquet of it in a vase in the refrigerator, so that I always have some fresh. During the cold months, though, sometimes I have more dill in the refrigerator than I’m able to use right away; when this is the case, I like to make pesto out of it, since it keeps extremely well in the freezer.

Even though I use dill for this pesto, remember that the ingredients you can use to make pesto are plentiful and diverse. You can replace some of the dill with basil to achieve a more complex taste. You can make pesto out of those carrot tops that you would normally throw away. Nettle—foraged from your own yard perhaps—also makes a fine pesto. You can use walnuts or pistachios instead of the usual pine nuts. Whatever you enjoy or have on hand will do!


2 packed cups of fresh dill, stripped from the stem and roughly chopped*

½ cup pine nuts

3 cloves of garlic, minced*

¼ cup olive oil

The zest of one lemon

¼ cup freshly grated parmesan

Salt and pepper to taste

*I do this to ensure that it gets evenly puréed in the food processor


Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until smooth, drizzling in a little more olive oil as necessary to achieve the desired consistency.

If you want to freeze the pesto, pour into a plastic container. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing and tucking in the wrap over the pesto so that no air has contact with it. This is enough to keep the pesto fresh in my experience, but if you want to really go the extra mile to ensure freshness, top off with a little olive oil (this will also keep the air off of the pesto). Secure the container with its lid and place in the freezer to store.

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