Give your food a healthy kick with a dab of this homemade pesto. It’s even vegan friendly!
Before an Italian nonna hounds me with the intention of clobbering me with the handle of her pasta roller, I’d freely admit this isn’t an authentic pesto recipe. The latter would contain pine nuts instead of pistachios and if you check out the recipe below, you’ll notice that parmesan cheese is missing. Vegans use nutritional yeast instead of cheese. It still tastes fabulous though!
Preparing pesto is a doddle. Simply place all the ingredients in a food processor or Froothie and give it a blitz to your desired consistency. If you’d like the mixture to me sloppier, add more oil. Tweak the recipe to suit your taste.
Apparently, there is a difference in taste depending on which method you use. The traditional way is with pestle and mortar and if you have the time give it a go. For those of us who are rushed off our feet on a daily basis, modern day machinery will just have to do.
Embarrassingly, I’ve let fresh herbs go to waste more than I can count. It’s a shame because it needn’t be the case. It takes five minutes to make a batch of pesto and do you want to know a little secret? You can freeze the stuff. In this case I froze little portions in an ice tray and afterwards put them in a resealable bag in the freezer, which proves to be especially handy when I just need one or two portions.
The beauty of freezing ingredients is that the subzero temperature locks in the freshness. So when the time comes to thaw, the produce will be in just as good condition as before it was frozen. This is what Dr. Oetker Ristorante conveyed mid-March 2015 when it constructed a pizzeria comprising 34 huge blocks of ice, using 3,400 litres of water outside Liverpool Street station in London. In their own words, “freezing pauses fine ingredients at the peak of perfection and suspends them there until the moment you’re ready to enjoy them”.
So you made a big batch of pesto. Don’t know what to do?
Love Italian Food? Check out these cookbooks!
- Nigellissima: Instant Italian Inspiration
- Pronto! Let’s cook Italian in 20 minutes
- Gino’s Pasta: Everything You Need to Cook the Italian Way
- Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen
21 Ways to Use Pesto
- Mix it with pasta.
- Mix it in with rice.
- Spread it on meat.
- Make a dip, by stirring it into mayonnaise or yogurt.
- Use it in a sandwich.
- Instead of using a tomato base on your pizza, use pesto.
- Garnish your soup.
- The secret ingredient of a salad dressing.
- Top your omelette or scrambled eggs with pesto.
- Bake it in your bread.
- Toss cooked vegetables in it.
- Make great little canapés like I did: Slices of bread slathered with cream cheese and topped with pesto. Alternative: Smear baguette slices with pesto and top with mozzarella slices.
- Potato mash with a twist.
- Use it as a marinade.
- Use it in a stew, it goes spectacularly well with chicken.
- If you have stale bread lying around, blend it with pesto to make breadcrumbs and top fish with it.
- Stir it into couscous.
- Add it to your meatball or burger patty mixture.
- Mix it with butter.
- Spoon it onto corn on the cob.
- Instead of butter use pesto to enjoy with baked sweet potatoes.
Did I miss anything? What is your favourite way to use pesto?
Basil & Pistachio Pesto
Prep 10 minutes
Total 10 minutes
Author: Michelle Minnaar
Give your food a pungent kick!
- 250ml (1 cup) shelled pistachios, natural and unsalted
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 60g (30oz) basil, washed
- 1 lime, juiced
- 125ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
- season to taste
- Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until desired consistency.
- Place in fridge or freeze in portions.
If you don’t have an Actifry, you can roast the cauliflower in the oven instead.
Courses Side Dish
Serving Size 66.9g
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
Total Fat 16.9g
Saturated Fat 2.4g
Total Carbohydrates 4.4g
Dietary Fiber 1.56g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.