Sage Pesto. Own Harvest.

Brussels in the summer. You simply never know what you’ll get next. First, we are digging out our scarves, winter sweaters, and boots. Preparing warming soup. Then, temperatues soar to unexpected highs and all I can think of is staying as still as possible to conserve my energy and whatever is left of my cool.   

Needless to say such temperatures play havoc with ones health/ body. Sore throat, sunburn? Got them both. At once. Yet something very strange happened to our garden. Seems that alternating rain and sun does wonder to our herbs. Our sage went completely mad. I am not joking. We have (almost) a sage bush, if there is one. I catch myself in the supermarket trying to bring back from the depths of my brain any recipe I know using sage: chicken and sage? pork and sage? sage ice cream? anything sage? 

Having already tried the more classic combinations, I started to think: what stops me from adapting another classic recipe?  Let me ask you: why and when did I start associating pesto with basil and basil only. Pesto refers to the sauce, and the ingredients are (or should be) entirely up to … well, me. Ask me though what I think of when I hear “pesto” and 9 out of 10 it will probably be basil pesto.

Time that changed. With sage on hand I decided to make my very own sage pesto. Choosing the best leaves, I laid out the ingredients: garlic, olive oil (might I add, own production?), pine nuts, and parmesan.   

With the help of our food processor (that machine has probably not only revolutionized my cooking life, but improved it 100x over!) all ingredients got pulsed into what looked like pesto. Remember though that pesto is purely a work of (love?) taste. My first attempt, probably not taking into account the already natural bitterness of sage, was … very bitter! A strong herb and a strong cheese do not mix that well. Let me tell you that.

I added more sage, more olive oil , more pine nuts, pulsed again, tasted again, adjusted and finally the sage pesto was ready. An acquired taste at first. But the adventure did not stop here. Some orechette just waiting to be eaten. Al dente. A good measure of sage pesto. Freshly grated parmesan on top. An absolute delight. Not only a tasty and different take on pasta and pesto, but also a very gratifying dish. Our very own sage harvest. Our very own sage pesto. Talk about sustainability.  

Any suggestions what to do with the rest of the sage?

This post is also my contribution to this month’s Grow Your Own event. Initiated by Andrea from Andrea’s Recipes, this month’s GYO is hosted by Bee and Jay from Jugalbandi.  

Previously from me to GYO, Urban Sardines and a Pear and Apple Pie.

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  • Whoa, that is new! I have a hard time imagining sage pesto but then again if I wasn’t so used to Basil pesto I’m not sure I would have imagined making a sauce out of it as well! Looks like I’ll have to try it someday. Looks delicious, Andreea 🙂

  • A wonderful dish! Very fragrant and original! I’m hungry now!



  • brusselsaway

    How about sage and onion bread. Made it myself and it was delicious. Recipe here:,,2173397,00.html

    You can also preserve the leaves in olive oil for about 2 months. I’ve not tried this, but I guess he flavoured oil would be good with chicken, pork or lamb.

    You can also freeze the leaves.

  • Sage and butter with pasta is a classic combination, so why not a sage pesto? I think you were quite creative! A great entry for Grow Your Own.

  • I’ve seen pesto done with many different things, but never sage! And I actually grew sage in my garden this year, so I’ll have to try it out!

  • Hi Andrea

    Our next slow food event is on our blog (the 16th of augustus with chef Claude Pohlig).
    See you ?

  • I love the idea of a sage pesto. Thanks for the tip.

  • What a great post! It should never be wrong to substitute, innovate, and tweak recipes according to what ingredients you have at hand and in abundance. Why, how could anything new and scrumptious ever be created otherwise? That’s just what we did this week at Kitchen Caravan. In our Not Really Thai Thai Noodles dish we recreated the traditional Thai dish Pad Kee Mao, but used local veggies and herbs – particularly basil, as opposed to holy basil. Our result was not only tasty, but unique – A+, if you ask me. Can’t wait to see what else you come up with for your sage!

  • I have not tried a sage pesto yet. It sounds good.

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  • I’ve tried soaking the sage in olive oil, but did find that it got a bit moldy after several weeks in the fridge. I came up with a different plan: Fine-chopping it (along with some rosemary, which I think goes so well with it), adding oil to cover, and freezing a mini-ice-cube-tray of it. You can store the herb-ice-cubes in a plastic bag in the freezer after they’ve frozen, and throw in a cube at a time into various dishes. I love it in Barley Mushroom soup, White Bean/Tomato soup, in chicken salad, and like you said, to pasta, etc.
    But what a great idea, making a pesto of it with the nuts and parmesan- cool!

  • We would like to feature this recipe on our blog. Please email if interested. Thanks 🙂

  • I looove pesto for its herbal taste. And roasted pine nuts… Aargh, getting hungry over here. Nice sage, Home-grown thingies ROCK!
    I am happy to discover your blog. I came here through Jugalbandi, as I am featuring their blog in this month´s Tried And Tasted, I hope you are participating.

  • Annie

    🙂 im currently looking for a sage pesto recipe 😛 i have a nice sage that i wont let die out of cold,

    I also read the sage pest was interesting with white fleshed fish.

    And somebody posted elsewhere with goat cheese snacks.