Want to try something different from traditional basil pesto? I doubt anyone could ever get tired of it (blasphemy!) but if you want to broaden your horizons and see what you can do with other herbs, this oregano pesto recipe is for you!
How is this different from basil pesto?
As you probably know, there’s a pesto recipe for nearly every plant in a herb garden. Basil, oregano, fresh thyme, rosemary, marjoram, mint… and even other vegetables like arugula and spinach.
They all have a different flavor, and they can also be paired with different types of nuts according to your personal preference.
This one is designed to bring out the unique flavor of oregano.
The result has a slightly darker color than the usual green pesto, and a lighter taste with some astringent notes.
It tastes great with meat like pork tenderloin, Italian sausages… and of course, any kind of dry pasta. Many people also like to use it to make salad dressings, but I think that there are other types of pesto better suited for those. On the other hand, it would be great as a topping for pizza bianca.
No matter how you’ll use it, I’m sure you’ll love this delicious recipe. If you like oregano as much as everyone else at Mortadella Head, this might become one of your favorite ways of making pesto!
Predictably enough, the ingredients for this oregano pesto recipe are very similar to those required for the pesto without pine nuts that I shared a while ago. The only thing that changes is the main herb used. Here’s what you need.
Oregano: Get the a lot of fresh oregano leaves. Don’t use dry oregano or the already cut leaves that are sold in jars. You need them fresh to use their essential oils and enjoy their flavor.
Grated cheese mixture: as with last time, we will use a mix of pecorino and parmesan cheese. Try going with 60% parmesan and 40% pecorino. Alternatively, if you want to make vegan oregano pesto, you can switch the cheese mixture with nutritional yeast.
Extra virgin olive oil: this time, I used 6 tbsp of regular oil and 1 tbsp of Calabrian chili oil to spice things up a bit.
If you look at the recipe card below, you’ll notice that I’ve used more oil than I did for the pesto without pine nuts recipe. This is because this one is a chunkier pesto, and needs more liquid fats to have a good consistency.
Chopped garlic cloves: A little garlic is always good with pesto, but don’t overdo it. 1 clove is enough to serve 5 or 6 people.
Pine nuts (optional): traditional pesto can be made with pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, or sunflower seeds. For this recipe, you can use any of those that you like. As I’ve mentioned in the other recipe, I don’t usually buy pine nuts, so I went with some leftover crushed pistachios. Walnuts are another great choice for this recipe.
This is everything you need. Now, let’s make a fresh oregano pesto!
Start by pulling the oregano leaves off their twigs and placing them in a strainer or narrow-hole colander. Wash them for a few seconds, then leave them to dry over a paper towel. Meanwhile, chop up a clove of garlic.
Put the oregano leaves in a food processor or immersion blender along with the garlic and three tablespoons of olive oil, then blend them together.
Add the pine nuts and grated cheese, pour in another 4 tbsp of oil, and blend again for a few seconds.
That’s all. Your fresh pesto is ready. You can add a bit of lemon juice, and you’re good to go. Such a simple recipe, isn’t it?
I hope you have fun trying this oregano pesto recipe at home. And as per usual, I’ll leave you to the recipe card now.
As I was saying, this recipe is designed for oregano, but you can take inspiration from it to make pesto with any of your favorite herbs. With a few experiments, you’ll figure out the right quantity of olive oil and grated cheese for each variant, and become a true pesto master.
Next time, I want to try using mint, or maybe rosemary. Which will be your next experiment?