A Summer Night’s Food Prep

July 31, 2013

We have gobloads of tomatoes and basil so we decided to make the obvious: gazpacho and pesto. Here are some shots from the evening : )



Rather than dirty the Cuisinart (pesto) and the Vitamix (gazpacho) I tried to do both in the Vitamix with great success.


I used this recipe with probably a lot more basil leaves than 2 cups!



Since the recipe made a ton, we froze most of it in Mazen’s baby food trays for long-term use.



Love that this one has a lid:


This one worked too though


And this jar was put in the fridge and used up in 3 days!


Next up: gazpacho. No blender cleaning necessary!


We used our standard recipe as a base – with lots of roasted red peppers.



Dinner the next night: pesto rolls with chilled gazpacho with avocado + chickpeas



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{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jeri July 31, 2013 at 8:23 am

I want a vitamin so bad. Trying to talk myself into it because you have to go for the top of the line right? But that’s like a mortgage payment almost. LOL! The things I do to be my own Top Chef


2 Brenda July 31, 2013 at 10:01 am

It’s more than a mortgage payment for me!! For what it’s worth, Consumer Report’s ranked the Ninja bender above all other blenders including the most expensive Vitamix. I’ll take $100-120 over $600 any day!


3 Live Love Yum Well July 31, 2013 at 8:15 pm

Yes, it is really expensive but if you’re in a position to do so consider it. The machine lasts over 10 to 20 years and blends everything whole silky smooth. I sold mine a year ago to downsize, and I’ve tried all the other ‘cheaper’ brands and still got lumps of spinach or berries. I’m hoping to get one again in the future. With that said, it will take a few months to set the money aside. Maybe try to Save $25/week for 4 to 5 months and you can get a refurbished one for that price. ?* Note: the vitamix is TWICE the price in many non-US countries. You’re lucky!


4 Kelly August 2, 2013 at 10:26 am

I purchased a refurbished vitamix from the company. It’s still pricey – but significantly less so than a brand new. You would never ever know it’s not brand new – works incredibly!! I’ve actually been able to eliminate nearly all other small appliances (and made some $$ by doing so!) since the vitamix does so much!!


5 Kinsey July 31, 2013 at 8:33 am

The gazpacho looks awesome, I love the chickpeas. I just had a huge amount of tomatoes to use up, so I roasted them into a pesto with some basil and almonds. It’s fabulous on quinoa, or spread onto bruschetta.


6 Anele @ Success Along the Weigh July 31, 2013 at 8:34 am

You’ve just reminded me I have basil I need to use out there! I’ve got old pesto in the freezer and a pesto chicken panini is sounding pretty good right now!


7 Amy @ The Little Honey Bee July 31, 2013 at 8:44 am

That all looks delicious! Reminds me of Italy


8 Paige Cunningham July 31, 2013 at 8:47 am

Oh I’ve never tried gazpacho…that recipe is just full of things I love..can’t wait to give it a try!


9 Ashley @ Coffee Cake and Cardio July 31, 2013 at 9:09 am

Both recipes look and sound delicious! I need to get over my fear of gazpacho. I’ve only had it once and I felt like I was eating a bowl of salsa. I need to try to make my own.


10 mary @ minutes per mile July 31, 2013 at 9:11 am

we made pesto in our vitamix two nights ago — turned out great! after reading your praise of vitamix for so long, we decided to put one on our registry and have fallen in love with it. never though to freeze pesto. brilliant idea (ps ours is pictured here: http://minutespermile.com/2013/07/28/ambition/)


11 Lauren July 31, 2013 at 9:32 am

I have a TON of basil that I need to use up. Pesto is genius, what recipe did you use?


12 Megan (The Lyons' Share) July 31, 2013 at 9:41 am

I can’t believe how much basil you have! That’s amazing! What are the little lumps in your gazpacho – chickpeas? corn?


13 Maggie @ Sunnyside Up Smile July 31, 2013 at 10:10 am

The pesto and gazpacho both look SO DELICIOUS! I actually had spinach pesto for dinner last night too πŸ˜‰


14 [email protected] July 31, 2013 at 10:15 am

what a great way to use all that beautiful food! your garden must be quite voluptuous! hehe!


15 Livi July 31, 2013 at 11:17 am

that dinner looks delicious, and perfect for a hot summer night. definitely adding it to my list!


16 Renee July 31, 2013 at 11:30 am

Wow looks delicious! I haven’t forgotten about the recipe for you either. Should have it for you today. Then by the end of the week I will have a blog post up on the cheese straws and some variations you can do. So look for that at http://www.anannysperspective.com

I am not a big fan of pesto but maybe I should try a homemade version! I might like that better


17 Christine@ Apple of My Eye July 31, 2013 at 11:31 am

Holy smokes, that’s a ton of basil! I love the idea of freezing it. It would be so easy to just pop one out and add it to another dish for some extra flavor :).

I also love that you guys cook together! So cute!


18 Hope @ With A Side Of Hope July 31, 2013 at 11:32 am

Wow! That is a LOT of basil! I love that you made so much pesto! Pesto is a favorite of mine. :) I’ve never tried gazpacho before. It’s on my list of things to make one day!


19 Kelly @ Kelly Runs for Food July 31, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Your basil stash looks a lot like ours! I will definitely need to find recipes for it soon!


20 Anna @ On Anna's Plate July 31, 2013 at 12:23 pm

The vitamix is magic. I’m convinced it can do anything. :-)

Not a huge gazpacho fan, but pesto…yum!


21 Jennifer July 31, 2013 at 12:36 pm

We just made fresh pesto last night, too. I love the smell of fresh basil in the house. Did you grow yours from seed? I just started some.


22 Melissa July 31, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Looks excellent! I love summer tomatoes, they always taste so fresh and perfectly accent whatever they happen to be cooked with.


23 [email protected] July 31, 2013 at 2:12 pm

The pesto is a beautiful vibrant green colour!!!


24 Tiffany July 31, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Hey Kath,

Make you really soak Mazen’s food storage after you have used the pesto because the garlic from the pesto will make the storage container smell.

I put pesto in containers before and afterward couldn’t use them for anything besides pesto or savory dishes because the pesto/garlic smell was still there and would make anything I made smell and taste like garlic. (I once unknowingly used one for my overnight oats and my overnight oats tasted slightly garlicky.)


25 KathEats July 31, 2013 at 6:20 pm



26 Kim July 31, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Oh my gosh, I would be in heaven with all that basil! I LOVE pesto! When I was a kid, my mom had a nice garden and would make pesto every summer and freeze it so we could have “fresh” pesto all year long. I’ve grown basil in a pot before, but it never really became abundant. I’ve been dying to have a garden to do just as my mom (and you) did… soon enough! :)


27 Cathy July 31, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Matt is there anything you cannot do? Amazing!!


28 Matt August 1, 2013 at 9:27 am

Haha, thanks!


29 Samantha July 31, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Your basil is amazing! I barely harvested enough to make one batch of pesto, let alone anything else.


30 Tami @Nutmeg Notebook July 31, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Ice cube trays are amazing for freezing so many items. I juice my Meyers Lemons and freeze them in ice cube trays. Once frozen I pop them into freezer bags so the trays are free for more items. Extra tomato paste leftover when you only use a tablespoon or two does well frozen into cubes. I am so jealous of your garden!


31 Alison July 31, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Mmm that all looks so fresh and delicious! Thumbs up for efficient blender use!


32 Sandra July 31, 2013 at 11:07 pm

The size of those basil leaves are amazing! You have the veggie and herb garden down pat.


33 Ella July 31, 2013 at 11:37 pm

YUMMM!!! Your basil looks incredible and I’m drooling over those tomatoes! I have a measly measly windowsill potted basil and just put some tomatoes in the ground (rather, my dad did… Can you tell I’m not much of a gardener?) We have yet to see if there will be any yield. You are my role models.


34 Lisa @bitesforbabies July 31, 2013 at 11:40 pm

YUM!!! I love tomatoes AND basil! I try to throw pesto into every recipe, lol! I make a huge batch as you did then freeze it at a later date. I usually put a batch in the freezer BEFORE adding the Parmesan…as it tends to get a bit bitter once frozen! Just a tip πŸ˜‰


35 Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles August 1, 2013 at 6:43 am

Fresh basil is pretty much my favorite thing ever—– I only dream of growing basil like that- how on earth did you do so well?!?! JEALOUS!!!!


36 Ashley August 1, 2013 at 8:50 am

I cannot wait to have a garden, though I think I would run out of basil because the boyfriend and I eat it on everything! When I saw that picture of Matt holding all of it I was very jealous. I also love that you guys cook together, we have started to do that and I feel it brings us closer.


37 char eats greens August 1, 2013 at 9:23 am

I think my jaw dropped from the amount of basil you had!! What a GREAT idea to do both in the vitamix. I busted out my food processor two weeks in a row to make pesto and it’s just such a pain in the a$$ to get that thing and all its parts cleaned after using it! I wish I could find those fire roasted sweet red peppers here, but I just know that I most definitely never will lol. I’ve never tried making a gazpacho, but I want to!!


38 Miller P. August 1, 2013 at 12:50 pm

That is a ridiculous amount of basil, but the final product looks delicious. Thanks for the great photos.


39 Rachel August 1, 2013 at 5:17 pm

Now you’ve made me lust after a Vitamix even more than I already was! I really like your idea of freezing the pesto in the baby food trays. I think one of those silicon ice cube trays would work, too – I’m going to try it this weekend. Thanks for the tips, and I love your site!


40 Chelsea @BigBitesLittleBudget August 1, 2013 at 5:21 pm

How easy is that! I love pesto, put it on everything. Having those frozen pesto cubes will make for easy dinners throughout the winter.


41 Emily @ Life on Food August 1, 2013 at 6:16 pm

I cannot decide if I like cold soup or not. Decisions. Decisions.


42 Christina @ The Beautiful Balance August 1, 2013 at 6:27 pm

That gazpacho sounds and looks delicious!!!


43 Alisha @ Alisha's Appetite August 1, 2013 at 9:51 pm

My jaw dropped when I saw that basil! So jealous!! Fresh basil is the epitome of summer.


44 Ttrockwood August 1, 2013 at 10:26 pm

I lovelovelove tomatoes and therefore gazpacho- i had some of the best gazpacho of my life in spain. Often they would also add a slice of stale crustless bread as a way to thicken it, and i had a version with almonds that was lovely too. Your basil harvest is insane! Maybe you should put a pesto bun on the menu at great harvest with all the pesto you have!


45 Jess August 2, 2013 at 10:16 pm

Kath, can you tell me the brand of the baby food tray with the lid? Thx!


46 KathEats August 3, 2013 at 11:11 am

It’s OXO’s


47 Neil Butterfield August 3, 2013 at 5:28 am

Sounds amazing, I love tomato based dishes, meals and sauces. Thanks for sharing.


48 Lindsay August 4, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Love the addition of the chickpeas. We are trying to do more meals without meat, and that is just a fab addition I would not have thought of yet! Also, whenever we have TONS of toms and Mr. Basil hanging around, we make bruschetta. It’s currently our replacement for pizza because it is so quick and easy!


49 Tess @ Tips on Healthy Living August 7, 2013 at 2:08 pm

I’m going to have to try this recipe. I’ve always wanted to go to Italy, but this is much more affordable (and even delicious).


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