Saturday, 5 April 2014

Homemade Basil Pesto

I'm a big fan of pesto. Who could resist the lovely Italian flavours of basil, garlic, pine nuts and parmesan? I love the bought stuff so much I figured the homemade version must be even better! So I did some experimenting with a lower fat version, because while olive oil is full of healthy fats, any fat is still energy-dense and kilojoule-laden. What I discovered was just how easy it was! Check out the recipe (& ideas for using pesto) below.

Homemade Basil Pesto

1 bunch basil (~2 C)
4 Tbsp toasted pinenuts
2 Tbsp grated parmesan
1 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp water

  1.      Place all ingredients into a food processor and process until fine.

Makes ~3/4 C. Store in a small glass jar or other airtight container in the fridge.

Some meal ideas with pesto

Pesto has so many uses, a few of which I've listed below. If you don't have the time to make the pesto yourself, store-bought pesto will work just as well. Just remember to stick to around 1 tablespoon per person as it is a high fat source.

  • Pesto pasta- also great with green veg, roasted cherry tomatoes and chicken stirred through and topped with some extra parmesan.
  • Homemade pesto pizza- spread pesto over the base of the pizza instead of tomato paste and top with your favourite toppings (works best with zucchini, eggplant, capsicum and tomato).
  • As a 'sauce' for any baked chicken or fish dish- see my next post for a recipe using pesto as a sauce for stuffed chicken and white bean smash!
  • As a component of your lasagne's white sauce- instead of the traditional creamy (i.e. fatty!) sauce, try mixing low fat milk, ricotta and a little pesto to use in your next lasagne.
  • Pesto potato salad- Instead of the traditional mayonnaise dressing, try gently stirring some pesto through your cooked potatoes.

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