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Basil, Pesto, and the Holy Cross: A Feast of Flavors and Faith

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

Today is Holy Cross Day. Holy Cross Day is where Christians around the world celebrate the cross of Christ.

The cross is pivotal to the Christian faith. It is the instrument of Christ’s redemption for the whole world, “having made peace through the blood of His cross” Colossians 1:20. It is such a holy object to us and the saving acts of God through the cross of Christ are reason to celebrate!

Holy Cross Day is an ancient feast that celebrates the cross and all that it means for our lives. It is the day that we discover not only the cross itself but its rediscovery after it was lost in the fall of Jerusalem.

To celebrate this particular day, do something with basil. Tradition says that basil was growing all over the hill where St. Helena found the cross of Christ buried. Because of this, in Greece, priests hand out sprigs of basil to the parishioners. We cut basil from our garden but you could buy it at the grocery store. We put the basil in mason jars to decorate our dinner table and for dinner, I made homemade pesto and I am going to toss it with hot angel hair spaghetti.

I had never made basil before but one of my sweet friends from church gave me her special recipe AND agreed to let me share it with you! Thank you, Jane! It is absolutely incredible! The kids and I have already eaten it straight from the bowl! This is my favorite pesto I have had so far. It is so fresh tasting because it doesn’t have garlic in it. I hope you love it as much as we have!

I hope that you have a blessed Holy Cross Day! I’d love to hear how you are celebrating the day!

Jane’s Homemade Pesto

2 cups firm packed clean basil leaves

¼ cup chopped nuts (pine nuts, walnuts, pecans)

¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated or shredded

⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ tsp salt

Pulse in a food processor or chop in a blender until thoroughly mixed. Stir with a knife or spoon as needed. Continue adding olive oil until desired consistency. Salt to taste. Serve at room temperature, store in the fridge or freeze in baggies or containers.


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