Today I thought I’d post my all time favourite pesto recipe that I absolutely love adding in many of my weekly recipes you see on my site. What I love about this pesto is it’s freshness – giving life and vitality to almost any savoury dish imaginable. It can turn a plain vegetable soup into something spectacular or make a masterpiece out of simple roasted vegetables, lasagne or bolognese.
The great thing about making pesto is that you can vary the flavour combinations depending on what style of dish you are making and the wonderful flavours and health properties you want to impart into your finished dish. Herbs such as parsley, basil, coriander and mint work best and you can also incorporate other greens such as spinach, kale and broccoli as well as very small amounts of super-greens such as wheatgrass or alfalfa to help boost chlorophyl. Traditionally lightly toasted pine nuts and olive oil are used to add flavour and body as well as emulsify – but I love to experiment and use different nuts, oils and seeds such as macadamia for a velvety richness – walnuts for added body and omega 3 or pumpkin seed for a boost of zinc. There are also times where I don’t add any nuts or seeds at all.
The important secret to making pesto is having a gentle hand and using aromatics such as garlic and lemon with care. It’s best to start off with a little then add as you go – otherwise there’s no turning back. 1 clove of garlic is often sufficient otherwise you’ll overpower your masterpiece. 1 tablespoon of lemon or lime juice is also a good start then add a touch more to taste if you need it. A generous sprinkle of ground black pepper and a little sea salt is all you need to make it great.
What’s good about it:
Greens such as fresh parsley and basil are full of superfood goodness that is anti-inflammatory to the body. Parsley is rich in chemoprotective oils that can help neutralise carcinogens as well as chlorophyll that is the single most critical substance in plants that allows them to absorb light from the sun and convert that light into usable energy. Chlorophyll helps to nourish the digestive system, support detoxification and elimination and helps to alkalinise the body. Garlic and black pepper are anti-inflammatory and can stimulate digestion. Using omega 3 rich oils such as walnut or flaxseed oil give an omega 3 boost. Omega-3s support the body’s health in every way and are vital in the fight against diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
1 large bunch parsley
1 large bunch basil
1 clove garlic
1 – 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
4 tablespoons your choice cold pressed olive oil, macadamia nut oil, walnut oil or flaxseed oil
Combine all the ingredients into a food processor or a high performance blender like a Vitamix.
Process until the herbs have been finely chopped and mixture forms a lovely green paste.
Store in a glass jar for up to 1 week in the fridge.
Add small handful walnuts, macadamias or pumpkin seeds for body, crunch and good anti-inflammatory benefits
Add small knob grated parmesan
Add 1/2 teaspoon wheatgrass powder for a chlorophyll boost
Use coriander or thai basil for Asian style dishes and add a little ginger and chilli
Use greens such as parsley, mint , rocket, broccoli or spinach as an alternative to my basil + parsley combo.
Use 1 whole avocado in place of the oil