I have pestomania. It’s a real disease. Look it up if you don’t believe me. I am obsessed with pesto. And I am obsessed with healthy-fying recipes. So I went on a mission to create a healthy version of basil pesto.
Pesto doesn’t have many ingredients, so the ones it does have are a pretty integral part of any respectable pesto recipe. However, every day you will find recipes like parsley presto or spinach pesto all over the cooking blogosphere, which are all interesting ideas but none of which can hold a candle to good old basil pesto in my opinion. However, because store-bought pesto is pretty expensive over here, plus it has all that oil and cheese (and you know how I feel about cheese) and I really wanted to try my hand at making a healthier homemade version, I sort of improvised with the following recipe.
This is not an authentic basil pesto recipe. I repeat, this is NOT an authentic basil pesto recipe. But it’s a pretty nice alternative if you’re one of those people who a) Likes pesto, b) Wants to make homemade presto, c) Thinks that pine nuts are insanely expensive and (forgive the pun) you have to be a nut to buy them if you live in Egypt, d) You don’t like cheese/are dairy intolerant e) Avoid pesto because of all that oil and f) You’re me.
But if none of the above applies to you and you still want to give it a try go ahead, you might end up liking it.
2 cups blanched basil
1/2 cup roasted pistachios/almonds/walnuts
2 cloves garlic
Juice of one lime
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
After hearing that pesto loses its beautiful greenness after a while, I decided to blanch my basil first (aka putting the basil leaves into boiling water for thirty seconds then plunging them in ice cold water) to hopefully help it maintain its colour after it’s been made into pesto.
Add the nuts, garlic cloves, salt, pepper and lime juice. Pulse just enough to mix them.
Add the basil and get your oil ready. Start blitzing the mixture while slowly adding the oil until everything is incorporated. At this point I continued with water because I wanted a smoother more liquid-y texture without adding more oil.
True to my current freezing frenzy, I froze half my pesto in these cute ice cube trays so I can pop one or two out whenever I want some.
We tried and liked this as a sandwich spread with grilled chicken slices and as a salad dressing added to mayonnaise. You could also add a bit of cream and turn it into a pasta sauce.
- 2 cups blanched basil
- ½ cup roasted pistachios/almonds/walnuts
- 2 cloves garlic
- Juice of one lime
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Blanch basil by putting it in boiling water for 10 seconds then plunging it into ice cold water.
- Put the nuts, garlic cloves, salt, pepper and lime juice in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse just enough to mix them.
- Add the basil and get your oil ready. Start blitzing the mixture while slowly adding the oil through the top opening until everything is incorporated. Continue with water to get the desired consistency.
- Freeze into ice cube trays or cupcake molds (perfect one portion size) and then pop them out and put in a freezer bag.