Quick, simple and guaranteed to be enjoyed even by our super-picky child, pasta is a regular visitor to our dining table. We tend to make sauces from scratch as it’s healthier, more satisfying and a way to sneak extra vegetables in – not to mention it takes barely any more time and is usually just as cheap as buying ready-made.
That said, the one sauce I’d never attempted to make was… pesto. Fresh herbs can be pricy (unless you grow your own), pine nuts and parmesan even more so.
“It’ll be so expensive”, I told myself, “and won’t be worth the effort it’ll surely be to make it”
Then we gave up dairy and most pesto suddenly became out of bounds. Panic! Now what were we going to do? Luckily I was seduced by a big bunch of basil in our local supermarket and decided to have a bash on a whim, replacing pine nuts with sunflower seeds as a packet was lurking at the back of the pantry. Some garlic, oil and a good tablespoon of nutritional yeast later, and we were done.
Guess what? I couldn’t believe it. It’s no effort at all. And even if it were, it would totally be worth it. Fresh, fragrant, flavourful and affordable, homemade pesto kicks the proverbial of the shop-bought varieties and we won’t be going back, even to the dairy-free ranges. Sorry, big name brands, you just aren’t where it’s at.
- 60 g bunch of fresh basil
- 60 g sunflower seeds
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbs nutritional yeast
- 60 ml olive oil
- 60 ml water if needed
Lob everything except the oil and water into a food processor, stopping only to get a good whiff of the basil on the way past. If you're my child, steal a leaf to wipe all over your face because it "smells bootiful". Can't argue with you there, kiddo.
Blend on low speed to combine, adding the olive oil (and water if using) in a steady stream.
Use as required or store in the fridge for a couple of days, with a sense of smug satisfaction at how easy the whole process was.
Have a cup of tea.