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Give Me Some Sauce Tuesday or Lemon Oregano Pesto

I’m ready for a little joy and hopefully this pesto will do the trick. Oros ganos, a Greek word meaning joy of the mountain, defines the mountain sides of Greece where oregano and marjoram flourish. The sweet, spicy scent was created by Aphrodite as a symbol of happiness. Marjoram is in the same family as oregano and not quite as strong in flavor. Bridal couples were crowned with garlands of marjoram and plants were placed on tombs to give peace to the departed.

Oregano is one of my favorite herbs. I love the flavor it gives to pizza and tomato sauce. I love it on subs as part of an Italian dressing and I love it on grilled fish. It tastes savory on fresh tomatoes and gives a definite warmth to eggs and cheese. Butter or olive oil, lemon and oregano brushed on fish or shrimp-heaven in my book. I have oregano growing in my herb garden and it is just starting to flower which means harvest now, or forget about it. I could dry it and I will, but this year I thought I’d try a pesto with my favorite herb.

I love pestos of every sort. I use them with a bit of extra oil as salad dressings. I stir pesto into rice or any grain dish. Of course, they always work with pasta. Try some mixed into your favorite vegetable. I can tell you that I plan on trying this pesto over grilled corn. Pesto is great with goat cheese as a spread on crackers or a baguette. Over tomatoes-no questions asked. Pesto stirred into mayonnaise makes a great flavored spread for any sandwich. Tonight’s dinner plan is this pesto spread over grilled fish. I can’t wait. Pesto in scrambled eggs?  A dollop of pesto in soup gives so much flavor. You get the idea. Pesto is a workhorse in the kitchen.

One of the best things about pesto is that it can be frozen. That is great news for your summer’s bounty of herbs because that means you can taste summer, all winter long. How good is that? You can freeze it in small containers or you can freeze it in ice cube trays so if you want just a little flavor all you have to do is pop one out. But when I have a container of pesto I tend to think of all the ways I can use it. Which means I go through it pretty fast.

As an herb, oregano was used in Egypt to preserve, heal and disinfect. In Europe, oregano was used in nosegays because of its sweet scent. It was also used in furniture polish to make the air more fragrant. I can attest to the fact that honeybees love my oregano. Now if I could just find that hive! So enough about oregano. Tonight I’m sprinkling some dried oregano and salt and pepper on my fish. Then as soon as it is grilled through I ‘m going to top it with a dollop of pesto and serve it on a bed of pasta with some fresh, juicy, red tomatoes thrown in. I better get started. Just writing this is making me drool!

 Lemon Oregano Pesto  (Makes about 1 cup)
1/4 c olive oil
2 chopped scallions
1 garlic clove, halved
1 T walnuts
1 1/2 t lemon juice
Zest of half a lemon
1/3 c grated parmesan (optional)
1 lightly packed cup of Italian parsley
1 lightly packed cup of fresh oregano leaves (Take the leaves off the stem by running your hand backwards up the stem)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Pinch of red chili flakes

Since I don’t have a blender I threw this in a food processor and processed until well combined and pesto like! Use a blender if you want and puree until smooth. If you like more oil feel free to drizzle more in. And by all means if you can’t find oregano, just fly to Greece. Just kidding. But you could use cilantro or mint or basil instead!

A few more to try:
3 Ingredient Artichoke Dip
Zucchini Chips
Moroccan Fish with Saffron Lime Aioli
Tuscan Beans and Potatoes


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  • Reply
    technology capitalists
    July 16, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    What time is that starting? I don't want to be late! 🙂

  • Reply
    Kitchen Riffs
    July 16, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    I like oregano a lot, too, and use it whenever I can. Mine has basically flowered, alas, although I'm still getting some fresh oregano. Still, dried oregano is good quality (at least IMO) so that's a great substitute. I love any kind of pesto, and this one has some quite nice, bright flavors to it. Good stuff! Thanks.

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      July 17, 2013 at 3:51 pm

      I love dried oregano, too! This pesto turned out well and tasted great on the fish last night. Nice to have something besides basil!

  • Reply
    Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes
    July 16, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    I´m a total pesto fanatic! I can eat it for days and days, on everything. Never made one with fresh oregano though. Dried oregano is probably the most commonly used herb here, because we eat a lot of italian sauces and pizza. An amazing recipe this one Abbe!

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      July 17, 2013 at 3:52 pm

      I had no idea oregano was so popular in Argentina. It is fun to use in different ways so I thought I'd try this. Thanks, Paula!

  • Reply
    July 17, 2013 at 12:37 am

    I like oregano a lot, too–this pesto sounds really good with lemon added!

  • Reply
    Angie Schneider
    July 17, 2013 at 2:42 am

    Me too, me too, a fan of all different kinds of pesto. This looks awesome!

  • Reply
    July 17, 2013 at 4:22 am

    I'm probably as big a fan of pesto as you are, Abbe, using it on meats, poultry, sandwiches, and in soups and sauces, too. Although much of Italy uses oregano, Marche, where the Bartolini come from, uses marjoram instead. You're right. it isn't as strong as oregano. No matter which you prefer, some dishes just wouldn't be the same without them. 🙂

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      July 17, 2013 at 3:54 pm

      You are right John and I know that Mario Batali loves marjoram for his tomato sauce. My mom had some and it does work very well!

  • Reply
    July 17, 2013 at 8:23 am

    I love oregano because of the spiciness. This is a wonderful twist on the classic. 🙂 Now…I need to get a new plant of oregano as the previous one didn't survive. Can't wait to try this.

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      July 17, 2013 at 3:55 pm

      You are right, Amy. It does have a certain spiciness. And remember herbs like hot and dry places with poor soil. At least mine do!

  • Reply
    shannon weber
    July 17, 2013 at 11:48 am

    oh this looks so good! I feel like i can smell it…just the lemon and the oregano together must be heaven. I've never made pesto with oregano leaves before, but what a great idea! i have some in the garden this year, and i'm always challenged to use it up; this is an awesome way to do just that.

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      July 17, 2013 at 3:57 pm

      Shannon, that's what challenged me. I have a lot, too and wanted something different to do with it! Try it and let me know what you think!

  • Reply
    July 17, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    i love to try that, never had pesto in my life

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      July 17, 2013 at 3:58 pm

      Cquek, don't wait. Pestos in any variety are soooo good!

  • Reply
    Shelley @ Two Healthy Kitchens
    July 17, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    This looks so fantastic – and my oregano is out in my herb garden, just waiting for an exciting recipe like this! Perfect! Love that you give so many wonderful ideas of how to use the pesto and the suggestion to freeze it!

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      July 17, 2013 at 3:58 pm

      Shelley, this would be perfect for your healthy kitchen. And make some to freeze for later, too!

  • Reply
    Laura Dembowski
    July 17, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Pesto is so yummy and versatile. I love something that I can make and then use all different ways and it tastes really different. Pasta, sandwiches, with a spoon . . . the possibilities are endless!

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      July 22, 2013 at 8:53 pm

      Definitely the best thing about pesto, Laura. And this one turned out really good!

  • Reply
    Shulie Foodwanderings
    July 22, 2013 at 4:43 am

    Love this version of pesto. Seems so lemony fresh with the oregano. You can slather this on anything not just pasta. So tasty.

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      July 22, 2013 at 8:54 pm

      You're right Shulie. Slather away! Thanks for stopping by. Hope you had a good vacation!

  • Reply
    Jesica m
    November 17, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    I have enjoyed reading your articles. It is well written. It looks like you spend a large amount of
    time and effort in writing the blog. I am appreciating your effort. This is great and important elements in the modern world that mean Oregano Greek.

  • Reply
    Judee Algazi
    August 9, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    My husband is a lemon lover, and I'm always on the look out for more ways to enjoy lemon. Lemon Pesto is interesting and useful– can't wait to try it!

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