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Kitchen Scrap Pesto

A classic Italian sauce made from kitchen scraps might sound too good to be true, but it’s the perfect way to give new life to some excess greens from the fridge in only a few minutes!

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This evening I really wanted to whip up something in the kitchen but I only had 15 minutes before my husband had to join an online work meeting. And since we live in a one bedroom apartment, that meant I had to be out of the kitchen/office/living room. What can I do in only 15 minutes!? I made pesto for the very first time!

The story actually starts a few days ago while visiting my college roommates in the house I had lived in for the past two years. While there I had planted a little garden and to my surprise some of the veggies I planted were still growing! Most notably, the green onions. Without any plan, I picked a while bunch and took them home. So fast forward to this evening and green onions and then boom, pesto!

What is Pesto

Pesto is a green sauce traditionally made from basil, pine nuts, Parmigiano-Reggiano, garlic, salt, and olive oil. While similar sauces can be traced back to Roman times, its modern version originated in Genoa, Italy in the sixteenth century.

It turns out that you can make pesto out of a combination of almost any green leaf, nut, and oil! This only occurred to me when I read the back of a pesto jar in the grocery store and it was made with spinach, cashew nuts, and sunflower seed oil, with only “natural basil flavor.”

Think of all the possibilities! Suddenly basil feels like just the starting point. Throw in some arugula, spinach, kale, cilantro, and green onions. Add some walnuts, pistachios, or macadamia nuts perhaps. And what about some infused oils or even the addition of balsamic vinegar.

Green onions is what really captured my attention. If you’ve seen the gardening hacks where you can just plant the roots in water and harvest some fresh green onions over and over again, then you’re like me and just need more ways to use this never ending ingredient. This is the perfect way to use up your green onions!


Kitchen Scrap Pesto

A classic Italian sauce made from kitchen scraps might sound too good to be true, but it's the perfect way to give new life to some excess greens from the fridge in only a few minutes!
Prep Time 15 mins


  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 2.5 cups Greens Any of the following: Basil, Spinach, Arugula, Green Onions, Oregano, Kale, Parsley, Cilantro, Onion Tops
  • 1/4 cup Nuts Some suggestions include: Pine Nuts, Pistachios, Walnuts
  • 1/4 cup Oil Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, Sesame Seed Oil
  • 1/2 cup Hard Cheese
  • Salt To taste
  • Pepper To taste

Additional Flavors to Consider Adding

  • 1 Lime
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/4-1 tsp Matcha Powder
  • 1/4 cup Mint
  • 1 Jalapeno Spice it UP!


  • Peel the garlic and add to your food processor. Pulse a few times to start cutting up the garlic.
  • Add your leafy greens and pulse some more.
  • Add nuts, oil, seasonings (salt, pepper), and lemon juice; pulse until you’ve reached the perfect consistency. Aim for a creamy consistency while maintaining identifiably sized pieces of nuts for texture.
  • Lastly add in your hard cheese and lightly pulse until your cheese is broken up.

Tips and Tricks

If you don’t have a food processor, use a blender! Perfect college hack (or just starting out hack) to making this simple sauce even without all the top-notch kitchen toys.

Looking for a vegan pesto recipe? Switch out the animal cheese for a plant based cheese and add a pinch more salt for flavor!

Looking for an oil-free pesto recipe? Switch the oil for half of an avocado. It keeps the creamy and spreadable consistency while even intensifying the color!

If you’re looking for a runnier pesto, add more olive oil or consider adding pasta water. Pasta water adds a creaminess to sauces and increases the perceived moisture in pasta dishes, definitely give it a try.

Check It Out

This is the part of the page where I share something interesting I’ve seen recently that might work for you! It’s often a product that I’ve found an affiliate link for in hopes that if you decide it’s something you’d benefit from, I can earn a few extra dollars at no added cost to you.

If you’re feeling inspired by this plant-based recipe, check out this Plant-Based Cookbook here! I love how many cookbooks there are for people who are looking into more plant-based diets for health reasons. This cookbook ebook’s goal is to make healthy plant centered eating more attainable and delicious.

The cookbook is $15 and is full of recipes with instructional pictures. Of course Pinterest is always a great resource for finding healthy recipes, but sometimes it feels more straightforward to invest in a book and commit to trying out the recipes. We all psychological work a little bit differently when it comes to starting to eat healthier, and if this sounds right for you, check out the Plant-Based Cookbook.

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