Pesto is incredibly delicious. It's healthy too and so easy to make using whatever greens are in your garden. I went foraging today and harvested some great ingredients for a new batch of yummy pesto. At dinner time, the children devoured it - reckoned this is one of the best batches I've made yet ... (thanks kids!)
Pesto - more than basil
Pesto is usually associated with basil, and yes I agree, it's a wonderful flavour, but you can also make pesto from all kinds of garden greens or better still, a wondrous blend.
Today in my foraging, I harvested three types of basil, parsley, rocket, welsh onions, society garlic, cranberry hibiscus and sorrel. I blended these together with some toasted ground sunflower seeds, the juice of a lime and some olive oil and created an amazingly simple, but superbly flavoured pesto that can be used for all kinds of things, such as:
- pasta (veggie spirals are great with this)
- bruschetta (it's great on the organic wood-fired local sourdough bread)
Extend the harvest
Often when the basil is on, it's on! Making pesto is a great way to appreciate this abundance. I typically make up a big batch, then freeze in an ice cube tray. It's a great way to extend the basil harvest.
Super greens for the kids
Also, because you can include any number of leafy greens, it is actually a great way to get your kids to eat an enormous dose of very nourishing greens.
MY GARDEN PESTO RECIPEHere's what I use for a really lovely texture of smooth pesto. As you can see, it's more of a ratio I am suggesting here rather than exact ingredients. There is huge flexibility in the types of greens. It varies soo widely between seasons and regions!
- 2 cups leaves from your garden (basil or mixed greens - garlic chives, welsh onion, rocket, parlsey, mizuna, kale, spinach, silverbeet, pumpkin, sorrel, cranberry hibiscus, Brazilian spinach, nasturtium, and 'weeds' too like chickweed ... )
- 1 lime/lemon, juiced
- 1/4 cup raw or toasted ground seeds/nuts (I use a coffee grinder)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup parmesan
NB: The leaves and flowers of the garlic chives replace the garlic in typical pesto recipes. It tastes great!
Basically I just toss all the ingredients into a food processor and buzz until smooth, then spatula it all into a mason jar. It's important to tap it down to ensure there are no air bubbles in the mix (will oxidise/go brown where there are bubbles) and I top it off with a little oil to keep it fresh. I store this in the fridge for about a week or two, but it doesn't usually last that long though. If you want to store it longer, it's a good idea to freeze it.