Best Basil Pesto (and the healthiest)
This basil pesto recipe is certainly the best tasting and the most nourishing recipe about! It's a great way to include healthy greens in your families diet.
Servings: 1 cup
- 1 clove/s garlic -peeled and crushed
- 50 g parmesan cheese -finely grated (dairy free version below)
- 1 bunch/s fresh basil leaves
- 2 stem/s kale (leaves torn from the stems)
- 30 g sunflower seeds (¼ cup) lightly toasted
- 30 g raw cashew nuts (¼ cup) lightly toasted
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper -to taste
- 3 tbsp olive oil -extra virgin
- ½ lemon/s juice, zest optional
- 1 red chilli/s (or even half a red capsicum for a vitamin C boost)
You can make this in a mortar and pestle but I prefer to use my Thermomix (or any good food processor will do the job) as I like a textured pesto. I tend to use the pulse (turbo) function so I can control the texture I'm after. If you like a course pesto like me, process less, for a smooth pesto, process more.
You can grate and crush your parmesan and garlic by hand or in your food processor. Thermomix 10 seconds, speed 6.
Add the basil and kale. Pulse until almost chopped. Thermomix 2-3 pulses.
Then add the cashews and sunflower seeds. A couple more pulses should see it combined nicely. Thermomix 2-3 pulses.
Lastly, season well and mix with your lemon juice and EV olive oil. Thermomix 10 seconds, reverse speed 3.
Drizzle with a little olive oil to seal it and prevent it discolouring.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Can also be frozen in a airtight container or even in ice-cube trays (and then cubes put into an airtight container once frozen).
Dairy-free and vegan
Omit the parmesan. I'd suggest adding a couple of tablespoons of nutritional yeast for cheese flavour and even a handful of ground macadamia nuts to replace the parmesan, but that's optional too.
Replace the kale with spinach
Which is also very nutritious and I think has a much milder flavour than kale.
Replace the cashews with the same amount of sunflower seeds.
Ways to eat it...
As a delicious, nourishing dip. It often features in my kids lunch boxes (the nut free version) with raw veggie sticks.
Mixed through pasta or zucchini noodles (for a grain and gluten free option). Add a little extra olive oil to the pesto to coat the pasta evenly and I also often toss through some chopped tomato to create a special meal. A pesto noodle salad is great for school lunch boxes.
With Quinoa or brown rice for added flavour and nutrition.
Use as a dressing to liven up steamed veggies or create a special salad. Mix one tablespoon of pesto with one tablespoon of olive oil and a little extra lemon juice (if you like) and mix through the vegies or salad leaves.
In a sandwich or on toast (with avocado - yum). Add a poached egg for a protein hit!
Spread over grilled haloumi.
In a tuna vegetable bake or a casserole.
Over grilled or BBQ'd meat or fish.
On top of a slice of tomato and slice of buffalo mozzarella i.e. Caprese style.
In a jacket potato or mixed through diced potatoes for an exciting potato salad
I could go on and on here…you are only limited by your imagination. Any Mediterranean flavoured meal will suit a blob of this nourishing Basil pesto.
Share how you eat pesto. Post a comment below, it's simple.