Lacto-Fermented Walnut Pesto
Did you know that basil has the highest nutrient-per-calorie content of any food? But wait, that’s not all! Fermenting herbs and veggies not only increases their lifespan (and yours) but it also increases their nutrient content and makes those nutrients easier for your body to digest, and therefore, absorb. Lacto-fermenting is an easy-to-do-at-home form of fermentation that, in addition to the enzymes already found in fruits and veggies, adds beneficial pro-biotics from yogurt or kefir whey.
When cooking with lacto-fermented things, be careful you don’t heat them, because that will kill all the enzymes and pro-biotics you just went through all the trouble to get. I like this pesto as a dipping sauce for raw veggies, or mixed with diced mushrooms and tomatoes as a salad.
2 cups fresh organic basil leaves
2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp homemade whey
1-2 cups filtered water (start with 1)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 – 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup crispy walnuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (optional*)
Tightly pack the basil leaves into a sterilized jar. Use a a wooden spoon to pack them into place. Add the garlic cloves on top.
Dissolve the salt in the water and add the whey. Pour over the leaves making sure they are covered (if necessary, add more water). Leave at least an inch of air in the tops of the jar.
Place the lid on the jar and put in the cupboard to ferment 1-2 weeks.
Once fermented to your liking, puree in blender on high 1-2 minutes. Add oil and blend till combined. Add walnuts (and cheese, if desired) and pulse until walnuts are lightly ground. (*I know classic pesto has cheese, but I’ve never been too big a fan of that. Since this already has a good kick from the fermentation, I left it out.)
Store in a glass container in the fridge up to three weeks.