Pesto was one of the first things I ever learned to make in the kitchen, and I always have a jar handy in the fridge for adding to salad dressings, pasta and healthy snacks. My greatest learning from years of making this delicious dip is that you can pretty much substitute the basil with anything. You could use coriander and chilli for a more Thai-inspired taste, or replace it with some sun-dried tomatoes or roasted pumpkin to give dishes a Mediterranean twist.
Having the right equipment makes all the difference. You can go old-fashioned and use a mortar and pestle, but I’ve found a food processor to be my best friend in this pesto creation. I’ve tried using blenders in the past, but you just can’t achieve the same chunky texture.
Here’s my trusty pesto recipe with plenty of options to let your inner food processing goddess shine! Feel free to experiment with your own additions and get creative.
2 cups tightly packed fresh basil (or coriander/a blend of other fresh herbs/roasted pumpkin or beetroot)
½ cup roasted (or raw) pine nuts/cashews/walnuts
1 to 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped (use more/less to taste)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil (or a more mild-flavoured olive oil. If making a beetroot dip, use plain yoghurt instead of olive oil. If making another roast vegetable dish, use less olive oil)
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (or lime)
3 Tbsp. savoury yeast flakes (or Parmesan cheese for a non-vegan option)
Salt and pepper to taste
Feel free to add some lightly toasted spices to taste (Moroccan spices work well with pumpkin)
Place the basil (or basil substitute), nuts and garlic into the food processor and pulse to combine.
Turn the motor on and slowly drizzle the olive oil in a thin stream (remember to use less if you’re making a vegetable dip).
Add the lemon juice, savoury yeast flaked, salt and pepper and any other spices you’d like to add and pulse a few more times to combine.
Add to salad dressings, pasta (or zucchini pasta!), bread, crackers – or add a dollop to your dinner. Enjoy within five days and keep in a sealed jar in the fridge.
Win your very own processing prop!
I have personally fallen in love with my newly acquired Cuisinart food processor, and it’s a product I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend for any yogi’s kitchen. Pesto is a great place to start – but it’s also perfect for nut meals, bliss balls and so many other healthy and tasty treats. And it’s so easy to use and clean – bonus! For your chance to win a Cuisinart eight-cup food processor, send us an email with Cuisinart as the subject to [email protected]
*Valid until January 31 2018