See what ingredients are in the pesto that you get from Costco under the Kirkland brand. Learn a little more about these ingredients, how to use the Pesto, how to freeze it, and what you can do to make this pesto from scratch at home.
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What we love most about Costco is being able to get a large amount of something. Whether that is a large pack of steaks or a huge bag of coffee.
How about a big jar of pesto? Costco has one that has a lot of fans. In this post we are going to share with you what is in it and what you can use it for. Stay tuned for the homemade pesto making tips at the end.
❓ What's in Kirkland Pesto?
Let's break down each ingredient you find in a jar of Kirkland brand pesto:
- Basil Blend containing Genovese Basil DOP, Sunflower Oil, Salt)
- Sunflower Oil
- Parmesan Cheese (containing Pasteurized Cultured Part-Skimmed Milk, Salt, Enzymes)
- Pine Nuts
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Pecorino Romano DOP Cheese (Cultured Sheep's Milk, Salt, Rennet)
- Fresh Garlic
- Ascorbic Acid
- Citric Acid
- Black Pepper
Besides the ascorbic acid and citric acid that is added to the pesto, everything else I would and have used to make my own pesto.
Starting with the basil. The container says they are using Genovese Basil, a classic type of Basil grown in Italy. The DOP designation means that was grown in a certain area of Italy and has been certified that it was in fact grown there. That particularly type of basil can also be grown by home gardeners as well, it's just that part of Italy is the optimal growing area.
Learn more about DOP designation in our post on authentic San Marzano tomatoes.
The Kirkland pesto uses the cheaper sunflower oil in greater quantity than extra virgin olive oil. I am ok with this as basil is a strong flavor that I think overwhelms the olive oil. When I make pesto I often use a neutral tasting oil, like sunflower or grapeseed.
Two types of cheeses are used - Parmesan and Pecorino Romano, which is a sheep's milk cheese. I think both are great in pesto and I love that they use a combo of the two.
Pine nuts are added for their buttery and nutty flavor. It's nice to see the using them as they are a more expensive ingredient that could have been replaced with a cheaper "nut".
Fresh garlic is always a nice addition, so is black pepper - freshly cracked of course 🙂
🍝 What Can You Use It For?
Pasta is the obvious thing people use pesto for. But you certainly don't need to stop there. Here are some other ideas:
- Chicken from Costco
- On top of crusty bread
- In soups
- On fish like salmon
- Homemade garlic bread
- With gnoochi
- On meatballs
- With roasted veggies
- Mixed with scrambled eggs
- In a sour cream or yogurt dip
- On pizza
- With soft pretzels
Some ideas for Costco specific foods include:
- You could dip the Kirkland Panko Fried Shrimp into pesto.
- Use it as a condiment on the different types of chicken sausage from brands like Amylu or Gilbert's.
- Grab some ground bison from Costco and make bison burgers topped with pesto.
- Make a chicken salad with Costco rotisserie chicken, Garofalo Pasta, and pesto.
- Get some Kerrygold butter, let some softened at room temperature. Add it to a food processor along with some of the pesto to make a herbed butter.
🥶 How to Freeze
Whenever you are buying something in bulk from Costco you have to consider whether nor not you are going to use up that item before it goes bad. Typically a jar of pesto should last in the fridge for 1-2 weeks, possibly more.
You can freeze some to be sure that it last longer. There are a couple ways to do that.
Take pesto and put it into ice cube trays. Once frozen remove from trays and place into a zip top bag.
Or you can freeze it in a single layer on a small plate or sheet pan. When it's frozen, just break it into pieces and place into a zip top bag. I like this second method because your pesto pieces are thin, so you can defrost them fast or even throw them right into a hot dish and they will be warmed up quickly.
👩🍳 How to Make it Yourself
Pesto is easy to make yourself in a food processor. You can also make pesto in a Magic Bullet. We have one in our camper because a full sized blender or food processor would take up too much space.
I like to make pesto to taste. I get all my ingredients out and then I add them. Then I taste. Then add what I think it needs more of. Often that is more salt. Sometimes it's more nuts or cheese.
Here are the basic instructions:
- I always start buy adding the basil by itself. Process it until it's in small pieces.
- Then I add everything else (cheese, pine nuts, garlic, pepper, and salt) but the oil and process that until all the ingredients are integrated.
- If I am using my food processor I can just add the oil slowly while the machine is running. This make sit easier to tell when you have enough.
- Then I taste to make sure the seasonings are right.
Pesto will turn brown unless some acid is added to it. The Kirkland brand uses Ascorbic Acid and Citric Acid. At home you can use freshy squeeze lemon juice. This will help to retain that lovely green color.
You don't always have to use just basil, You can use other green leaves like spinach & arugula which I like to mix together for pesto. If you the buy boxes of baby spinach at Costco this is a great way to make sure that nothing goes to waste.
I have even developed a recipe that uses roasted asparagus to make pesto. I serve it with couscous. It's so good!!!
💡 The best tip to making pesto is to add enough oil so that the pesto is smooth. You can tell when you have enough because your food processor or blender is running very smoothly. It's just like if you were making a smoothie.