I’ve loved pesto sauce since my first taste. I’m pretty sure it was just store bought pesto in a jar though. I have also learned just in the last year that all 3 of my kids love it too. I can put my homemade pesto on just about anything and my boys will chow down. The biggest bummer about buying jar pesto sauce is the cost, but I do understand why it costs a bit. Those pine nuts, basil and Parmesan really add up when you’re trying to make a homemade batch of this great green sauce.
Why it’s the “Poor Man’s” Pesto
I’ve made pesto a bit over the last few years, but I’ve always cringed at paying the price for bulk pine nuts and of course you need to add in the cost of a large bundle of basil and Parmesan cheese. The last couple times I made pesto I had a huge amount of basil I had to use from my husband’s garden so I decided to experiment with new ingredients.
I replaced pine nuts with sunflower seed kernals. The only reason I tried them was because these little kernals have a similar shape and look to them as pine nuts, and it was my husband’s idea. They’re about a third of the cost and they’re a great source of magnesium, vitamin E and other vitamins, check it out here.
My next replacement was the Parmesan cheese for Asagio cheese. I credit this replacement with my Costco discovery of their Asagio cheese block. I love the stuff! It’s has a similar sharp nutty taste like Parmasen, but about half the cost.
My last money saving option for Poor Man’s pesto is not a replacement, just an option; home grown basil. My husband is the gardener in our family and he always grows basil for us and it grows like a weed, so that’s the cheapest way to get tons for fragrant basil for cooking. It’s such a pleasure getting fresh herbs and some veggies from right outside our back door and what a great cost and health saving measure.