Pirate Kitchen

Lawnmower Sauce


Lawnmower Sauce

Maybe it’s the heat. The temperature has been in the mid to high 90’s here in the South Jersey ‘burbs with that haze that makes me rub my eyes thinking there’s a film over them. There’s not. There’s a heat film over everything I’m looking at.  I’m not complaining since it is summer and that means our garden groweth. I have two large barrel containers with herbs that are now big and green and bushy. They require no effort but water which is a major bonus and a few times a week they get a nice trimming. I find myself headed to my kitchen with a big basketful for pesto a.k.a., Lawnmower Sauce. There’s quite a homey sense of satisfaction I get plucking handfuls of green, throwing it into the food processor with a few other ingredients and ta da! By the way, I can also get that same satisfaction from store bought herbs when growing season has come and gone.

We love our Lawnmower Sauce and it goes with absolutely everything. I try to always have it on our dinner table (condiment style), in all its proud, humble glory. Chances are, it will usually end up on someone’s plain pasta, grilled chicken or bread. My stepson’s plate is usually a play on white, but he loves it! I know there are many versions of pesto, but right now my favorite is made with parsley, basil, lemon juice, salt and olive oil. That’s it, but it packs a flavor wallop and is like a blast of summer on the palate. But, its greatest attribute happens to be that I can make it in the dead of winter when it’s hard for me to imagine that anything will ever be green again. And since I can, I don’t have a mourning period for it like I do for garden tomatoes. Sigh. But that may be an entire post for another time.

I feel the need (ever so slightly) to redeem myself. After my last post, I considered the fact that it was only my third and readers might get the idea that all I do is sit around and eat pounds of butter. Don’t get me wrong, like Ree Drummond I love butter and agree with Ree, that it makes my skin shimmer. But, I digress and there’s always room for butter in future posts and well, life.

I would love to hear what your favorite pesto is – comment on this post and let me know!

Lawnmower Sauce
a.k.a. not your classic pesto
Makes about 1 cup



  • 4 cups parsley
  • 1-2 cups basil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, eyeball it

In the bowl of a food processor, add the parsley, basil, salt and lemon juice.  Pulse until chopped. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn processor on and stream the olive oil through the tube until a loose paste forms.

Credits: Recipe inspired by Rachael Ray

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  1. Diane
    July 5, 2010

    Here’s a way to use some of your basil; I tried it on fish and everyone LOVED it:
    In the blender dump a bunch of roasted/salted almonds. Add a full plant of basil (minus the roots and dirt). Blend them.

    I put the Tilapia in a skillet first with some olive oil and turned it white, but didn’t fully cook it. Put it in a sprayed casserole dish, spread the basil/almond mix on and baked it for about 10 min at 350.

    It was practically gourmet.

  2. Diane
    June 29, 2010

    The beauty here is that this is not a cake – nothing can be ruined and everything can be adjusted on the fly.

    A friend’s husband’s version (maybe I have a little Pirate in me too), tweaked to taste:

    In a blender I mix a sufficient amount of olive oil (first) and almonds (second) to create the proper biomass. Everything else is taste and color.
    Basil is my catnip, so I like a dark healthy green color and add enough fresh basil to achieve it. Garlic is also an essential ingredient for life (my Aunt always says it keeps away evil spirits if worn as a necklace). I add two cloves, although that might be too much for the average taste.

    Add a little parsley to take the bite out of the garlic and some salt just because.

    You can substitute pinenuts, but almonds are one of the 12 superfoods and I like the taste better.

    • Kristen
      June 30, 2010

      Yum! I have big plans for basil pesto this weekend – the plants are a bit out of control.