Perfect pesto

Perfect pesto

By
From
Green Kitchen At Home
Makes
220 g
Prep
10 mins
Cooking time
10 mins
Photographer
David Frenkiel

For us, pesto is more than just a dressing for pasta. It’s a shortcut flavouring option for numerous meals. It can be used on top of a flatbread pizza instead of tomato sauce, mashed with avocado to add flavour and creaminess to a pasta salad, used as a flavour boost on top of frittata muffins or whisked up with oil and lemon to make a salad dressing.

This is our standard, basic pesto recipe, just like Luise’s Italian nonna makes it. You can use a store-bought option, of course, but homemade always tastes better.

We also make a vegan version with nutritional yeast and cashew nuts to keep it creamy instead of the cheese (see tips). The nutritional yeast adds that cheesy flavour, making the two versions very similar.

If you feel like playing around with this recipe, you can add kale, spinach, rocket or even raw broccoli to the herbs. The pine nuts can be substituted with other nuts, and you can even try adding sweet fruit, like mango or raisins, for an interesting flavour twist.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
100g fresh basil, leaves and stems picked
60g grana padano or parmigiano reggiano, grated
50g pine nuts, toasted
80ml extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, peeled
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender, season to taste with salt and pepper and blend until well combined.
  2. Store the pesto in the fridge in a sealable glass jar and it will keep for about a week. Alternatively, roll it into a log using a sheet of parchment paper and store it in the freezer.

Tips

  • For a vegan alternative, replace the cheese with 50g cashew nuts and 2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes.

    For a nut-free alternative, replace the pine nuts with pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds.

    The pesto can also be prepared in a medium-sized bowl with an immersion (hand) blender or by using a mortar and pestle
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