• (The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook / Harvard Common Press)

Yes, you can eat tomato leaves, and this twist on the classic pesto is a great way to use them. 


1 cup



Skill level

Average: 3.2 (135 votes)

When I think of summer bounties, I think of basil and tomatoes - the poster children for the season. Something about the sweet, savory, and ever-so-slightly peppery aroma of basil makes a fruity, subtly smoky, vine-ripened tomato sing. When you combine both of their characteristics into an otherwise traditional pesto, the result is a sauce that is unmistakably basil-scented, but with a note of warm and earthy tomato leaf.


  • 2 cups (48 g) packed fresh basil
  • ½ cup (50 g) grated Parmesan cheese
  • ⅓ cup packed tomato leaves (see Note)
  • ¼ cup (35 g) toasted pine nuts
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ to ½ cup (60 to 125 ml) olive oil

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


1. Add the basil, Parmesan, tomato leaves, pine nuts, garlic, and salt to a food processor and pulse until crumbly, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

2. Continue pulsing and add the oil in a steady stream until well blended. Use ¼ cup oil for a thicker paste or up to ½ cup oil for a thinner sauce.



• Read Linda Ly's article Tomato leaves: the toxic myth on her website to find out more about eating tomato leaves


Recipe and image from The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook: Recipes and Techniques for Whole Plant Cooking by Linda Ly, photography by Will Taylor (Harvard Common Press, $35)