This recipe is adapted from George Mateljan's, The World's Healthiest Foods. I recommend purchasing his book, which has rather lengthy descriptions of healthy foods and ways you can cook with them. His pesto recipe is great because it is much healthier than traditional pesto. Yes it has cheese and oil in it, BUT it is made with sunflower seeds instead of pignoli/pine nuts.
A note about using sunflower seeds...I have made this recipe many times and each time I tweek the amount of salt and pepper that goes into it. The one thing that can make or break the flavor is the sunflower seeds. If the seeds you are using are old your sauce will taste stale. Don't scrimp, go buy some fresh sunflower seeds if you are in doubt...trust me it can ruin your meal otherwise.
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 T sunflower seeds
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 cups basil
large dash of sea salt and freshly grated pepper
In a food processor or with a cheese grater, grate up 1/2 c parmesan cheese and set aside. Then in a food processor (preferred) or blender, combine the rest of the ingredients. When the mixture is well combined add the parmesan in and pulse a few times. Taste and adjust salt and pepper accordingly.
Storing Leftovers...If you aren't going to use this entire sauce right away, pour a bit of oil over the top of the sauce and be sure to store it in an airtight container or jar with a lid. It should keep for about a week in the fridge.
Leftover Idea...I like to use the leftovers in the morning with breakfast. If I have any or some of the following things I will throw together toast with pesto, a slice of prosciutto (or other cured meat), a slice of tomato, and a sunny side up egg. It is delicious!