Summer 2020 in our garden has started off like a rocket, (with rocket… those lovely peppery leaves!) – but has now been overtaken by bushes of basil. This has inspired the makers of pesto amongst us. Comparing recipes with a few members proves that it can be a very versatile green sauce, substituting pretty much any greens you have in abundance. Here are a few variations on the classic:
Dean’s vegan pesto
Cheesy, flavourful and little different!
- 40 g packed fresh basil (large stems removed)
- 10 g pine nuts or walnuts (if nut-free, try sunflower seeds)
- 3 g cloves garlic
- 12 ml lemon juice
- 4.5 g nutritional yeast (available from The Source in Balmain or Woolworths)
- 0.1 tsp sea salt (plus more to taste)
- 11-16 ml extra virgin olive oil*
- 17- 26 ml water (plus more as needed)
- To a food processor or small blender, add the basil, nuts, garlic, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and sea salt and blend/mix on high until a loose paste forms.
- Add olive oil a little at a time (streaming in while the machine is on if possible) and scrape down sides as needed. Then add 1 Tbsp (15 ml) water at a time until the desired consistency is reached – a thick but pourable sauce. (If you are avoiding oil altogether, substitute the oil with vegetable broth or just use all water.)
- Taste and adjust flavour as needed, adding more nutritional yeast for cheesy flavour, salt for overall flavour, nuts for nuttiness, garlic for bite / zing, or lemon juice for acidity.
- Perfect for adding to sauces, dressings, breads, and more!
- Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 1 week. After that, pour into ice cube moulds, freeze, and store up to 1 month or more.
Basic recipe: (makes 1 cup)
- Place 80g of herb leaves or greens
- 40g nuts or seeds
- 1 clove of garlic/optional
- 40g grated parmesan
- salt to taste
- 150ml olive oil
Blend in a food processor, adjust consistency with water or oil. Use straight away or store in a clean jar in the fridge for up to 10 days.
Using the proportions above
Try these combos:
- Parsley, (plus rocket is good too) walnuts, lemon zest and 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Celery leaves, cashews, parmesan
- Fennel fronds, pine nuts, parmesan and lemon juice