The traditional ingredients for a pesto recipe (originally from northern Italy) are basil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, garlic, lemon and olive oil, which are mixed together either using a pestle and mortar or a blender until you get a smooth, slightly ‘bitty’ texture. To keep my pesto dairy-free I leave out the Parmesan, and I replace the pine nuts with other types for variety. I also like to use different vegetables and herbs.
A favourite of mine is pesto made with kale and almonds; sometimes I’ll add sundried tomatoes and chilli, or coriander and cashew nuts. So get creative! Take a recipe and play around with it according to your tastes and dietary requirements.
You can add pesto to your salads, fish or meat, or stir it into your spiralized vegetables for a lovely, comforting ‘pasta’ dish. Pesto is something I always have in the fridge because it’s so simple to make and livens up every meal. It lasts up to 6 months in the freezer and a week in the fridge (even after it’s been opened). Add a layer of olive oil on top to help keep it fresh.
- 1 bunch of basil leaves
- 1 lemon, juiced and zested
- 120ml olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic
- 120g soaked almonds, drained
- 120g kale, washed and roughly chopped
- sea salt
Blend all the ingredients together, keeping the mixture slightly chunky. Add sea salt to taste. Check the flavour and adjust as you prefer – you might like a touch more garlic, lemon or basil.
Taken from my new book. Cook. Nourish. Glow. Containing 120 delicious and easy to prepare recipes, I aim to equip you with the skills and knowledge to improve your health while empowering you to cook with confidence. Order your copy here.
This recipe features in the ‘It’s All About Taste’ chapter in Cook. Nourish. Glow. – learn more here.
Photo credit: Susan Bell