I absolutely love pesto. All kinds. Back in the day I used to buy it in the shop and no matter whether I bought fresh or jarred it was so full of oil I was horrified when I realized how fatty it was even if it was good fat! This version adds a welcome healthy spin.
The great thing about making it yourself is that it is so versatile to add as a dressing to salad, chicken or even bake fish in it. I like to experiment using different kinds of oils such as hemp or rapeseed. I also like to vary which nuts I use. Roasted walnuts make a great substitute for toasted pine nuts as they are less oily and cheaper to boot! You don’t have to make it greasy YAY and you can make a batch ahead of time and use it all week! Adding raw nuts adds an extra dimension. This pesto is suitable for vegetarians and acts as the base for many different lunch or dinner ideas.
Makes 1 Jar
- 1 nice big bunch of fresh basil
- 2 tbsp oil of choice a mixture of extra virgin olive oil and light olive oil work well
- a handful of roasted walnuts and hemp seeds (nut of choice)
- 1 large clove of garlic. (be careful not to add too much here because over the week it becomes far too strong!)
- 20g fresh parmesan
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Maldon sea salt and black pepper
- Have some water on hand to thin it out if need be
- Toast your walnuts in a dry frying pan. Watch them very carefully as they tend to catch really easily. Keep them moving until you are starting see them brown. Take them off the heat quickly as they will keep cooking in the hot pan.
- Place oil, garlic and 1 tbsp of water in blender (I use a hand blender) and whiz briefly just to break up the larger ingredients.
- Add the basil and whiz some more. If it gets to dry here then add a bit of lemon juice and some more water just to get it moving again.
- Add your hemp seeds and parmesan. The consistency should be becoming smooth here.
- Finally add your walnuts and whiz a bit more. I add them last because I like to have a crunch but by all means, if you are looking for a smoother texture then keep blending!
- Season to taste with salt pepper and more lemon juice. I like it to be quite zingy but it really depends on what I am using it for.
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