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Lemon Balm Oregano Pesto

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Use up the ever abundant perennial herbs with this lemon balm oregano pesto. It’s easy to make, freezes well, and most importantly is delicious.

Lemon balm oregano pesto in an open jar with fresh herbs and text overlay.

Versatile Lemon Flavor

Lemon balm does, of course, impart a lemony flavor to this pesto. The final result is still herbal in flavor but lemon mellows out the oregano nicely. Plus lemon as a flavor is incredibly versatile for pasta, soups, chicken, and more.

Close up of lemon balm leaves in the garden.

Earthy Oregano

Oregano is almost as versatile as lemon. In this pesto, it adds a delightful earthy herbal note that works great in plain in old pasta but will work great with a number of vegetables and of course poulty as well.

Customize the Herbal Ratio

The recipe as written as equal parts lemon balm and oregano. This will create a balanced pesto in flavor that can be used for most any dish where pesto is required.

Oregano flower in bloom.

However, a person could easily use more lemon balm than oregano for say using in a chicken salad dressing. Or use more oregano than lemon balm for a pesto to be used on pasta or rice.

Truly adjust the herb ratio based on personal preference. Heck there’s no reason not to make multiple batches of different ratios, just label appropriately.

Seed or Nut Pesto

Pine nuts are the traditional choice when making basil pesto. They definitely impart a unique and delicious flavor. Pine nuts are also extremely expensive.

Pesto does not need to have pine nuts, however.

Most any nut or seed will do in making this (or any) pesto. I opt for sunflower seed kernels most of the time simply because it is the most frugal bulk choice in my local store.

Use whatever is on hand or frugal. There’s no sense in making the most frugal use of the garden harvest to blow the budget on nut or seed choice.

Smooth or Chunky

Most pestos are a very smooth paste-style sauce. I make mine that way most of the time, too. However, keeping a few small chunks of seeds or nuts adds a delightful crunch and texture to final dishes.

To give the chunkier pesto a try, simply add a little less oil and puree just until the desired texture is reached.

Vegan or Not – Your Choice

To add cheese or not to pesto is a personal choice. I rarely add cheese to pesto itself, choosing instead to add it to the dish if and when cheese is necessary.

If you do add cheese to pesto, taste it befor adding additional salt and add salt slowly to avoid too much.

How to Preserve Pesto

There are no safe and approved methods for home canning pesto. However, it freezes delightfully.

I generally freeze it in half-pint jars as that’s as much as I would use at any one time. However, feel free to freeze it in any size jar that is reasonable.

Lemon balm oregano pesto in an open jar with fresh herbs.

To freeze, pour the pesto into glass jars with straight sides or plastic containers. Leave at least 1″ headspace to allow for expansion. To prevent drying out, pour a little oil over the top of the pesto to keep it sealed and moist.

Use up frozen pesto within six months. It won’t likely go bad after that time but freezer burn and flavor degradation is common.

How to Use Lemon Balm Oregano Pesto

In short, use it anyway you’d normally use basil pesto.

Mix with pasta or rice for a simple but filling dish. It would be incredible in pasta primavera.

Pesto on spaghetti

Slather it on bread instead of mayo for a delicious sandwich.

Use it instead of tomato sauce on your homemade pizza.

Yield: 1 Cup

Lemon Balm Oregano Pesto

Lemon Balm Oregano pesto in an open jar with fresh herbs in the background.

Lemon balm oregano pesto is a bright and flavorful pesto that makes the most frugal use of ever abundant garden herbs.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Cups Fresh Lemon Balm Leaves, Packed
  • 1 1/2 Cups Fresh Oregano Leaves, Packed
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, peeled
  • 3/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Sunflower Seed Kernels
  • Generous Pinch of Salt
  • Generous Pinch of Black Pepper, optional
  • 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese, optional

Instructions

  1. Put the herbs, sunflower seeds, garlic, and 1/2 cup of olive oil in a blender or food processor.
  2. Puree until smooth, add more olive oil as needed to keep the blender moving.
  3. Add the salt and pepper, scrape down the sides of the blender or food processor.
  4. Blend to combine.
  5. Remove from the blender, stir in the cheese if using.
  6. Use immediately if desired.
  7. Alternatively, refrigerate in an airtight jar for up to 1 week. Freeze for up to 6 months.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1 Tablespoon

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 141Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 279mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 4gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g

We try our best but cannot guarantee that nutrition information is 100% accurate.

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Janet Johnson

Saturday 30th of May 2020

Appreciate the recipe. Have an abundance of both herbs.

Connie

Wednesday 27th of May 2020

Sounds amazing! Can't wait to try it. My lemon balm is going nuts this year.

Terri

Friday 22nd of May 2020

Can anything be substituted for sunflower seed kernels?

Kathie Lapcevic

Friday 22nd of May 2020

For sure, use any nut or seed you prefer.

Suzan

Sunday 18th of August 2019

Wow, That Looks Great!! Thank you for Sharing!

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