I LOVE the smell of fresh basil – it sends my taste buds and endorphins crazy! I also love whipping up a batch of homemade pesto – not only because it is super quick and easy, but it tastes delicious and adds zest and oomph to anything, it is super healthy, and when you make your own you can make sure you know what goes into it. (Most commercial pestos use harmful vegetable oils rather than olive oil.) So now I make my own!
Pesto is great as a dip with carrot sticks, spread over some salmon fillets (check out this yummy recipe here), in a mountain bread toasted wrap with some poached chicken or smoked salmon, tossed through zucchini pasta as a meal or salad (see how to make zuccini pasta here), mixed with some olive oil and vinegar for a zesty salad dressing, tossed through roast veggies or added to some scrambled eggs for a twist – there is just so much you can do!
Here is my simple recipe. Feel free to play around with the quantities (the quantities here are really only a guide – the amount of basil for example might vary according to the size of the bunch etc (I tend to use as much as I have)… You might also wish to experiment with the ingredients. I love a lemony zesty flavour but the lemon isn’t a necessity here. Also you might want to add some chilli (flakes or fresh) or play with the greens (think coriander, parsley, etc) or the nuts (think cashews, walnuts, pistacchios, macadamias) or even the cheese (think fetta, goats cheese, gruyere – oh yum!).
PS – I have added a Thermomix version below for those wanting to use their Thermomix or Bellini …
What you will need:
1/4 cup pine nuts dry roasted (you can do this in the oven on some baking paper or in a non-oiled pan on the stove – keep an eye on them – they can burn quickly!)
1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
2 small garlic cloves (or 2 teaspoons good quality organic minced garlic)
3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon
sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
How to pull it together:
Place the pine nuts, basil, lemon juice, garlic, parmesan, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped. Gradually add the olive oil while the motor is running in a thin stream until well combined.
If using a Thermomix:
Put an approximately 65 gram (2 ounce) chunk of Parmesan into the mixing bowl and blitz, speed 10 for about 8 seconds or until evenly grated.
Add the basil, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and mix speed 6 for about 3 seconds or until it reaches your preferred consistency.
You will end up with a deliciously chunky pesto.
Notes and tips:
You can freeze the pesto for up to 4 months in an airtight container. (You could also freeze in a seal-able ice cube tray for easy portion sizing.)
Drizzle with a little olive oil to cover. To thaw, place in the fridge for 3-4 hours, stir to combine and serve.
Enjoy (and if you haven’t already don’t forget to head over to my facebook page and LIKE it! You can also follow me on instagram @theshrinkinghubby xx