If you own a blender or food processor you’ve got the ability to make a pesto. The thing I love about pesto is that there are so many options and it’s so quick and easy to make. A real one-bowl wonder! Pesto packs a big nutrient punch with loads of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and good fats. Forget store bought dressings. You can use pesto to “pimp your plate” by adding it as a topping on poached eggs, grilled fish, steak, a dip and of course a quick and easy pasta sauce. The options are endless.
Anatomy of a perfect pesto
Basil is traditional but you can also use coriander, parsley, rocket or spinach. It’s a great way to use up all those additional herbs in your garden or all that spinach in your fridge that’s looking a bit sad.
Pine nuts are traditional but pistachio, pecans, macadamias and cashews (not strictly speaking a nut) are all fantastic. Make sure you lightly toast them to really bring out the flavour!
It’s hard to go past the traditional extra virgin olive oil. Make sure you use a good quality one for the ultimate taste. Macadamia and avocado oils also work well.
Garlic and some good quality salt and pepper is a must in my book but I also like to add finely grated lemon rind or chilli flakes. The sky really is the limit here so get creative.
Traditional basil pesto has it but I usually leave it out of mine and I think it still tastes pretty awesome.
Here’s a recipe for one of my favourite combinations.
Rocket and Pecan Pesto
- 60g young rocket leaves
- 7 g parsley
- 12 large pecan halves (lightly toasted)
- 2 roughly chopped cloves of garlic
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 35g Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Salt and pepper
Place rocket, parsley, pecans and garlic in a blender or food processor and pulse until finely minced. With the motor running slowly pour in the olive oil. Mix in the parmesan and season to taste. Store in a sterilized jar in the fridge for up to a week.
How do you like your pesto? Share your favourite ingredients in the comments below.
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Norelle Hentschel is an experienced Naturopath with a clinic in Stones Corner, Brisbane who enjoys supporting her clients to reach their health goals.
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