Here are three reasons why you should always make your own pesto:
- Homemade pesto = goodness in a jar (vitamins, minerals, and protein boost without conservatives and nasty e-numbers!)
- It's quick & easy
- It’s far tastier than commercial pesto
- You can use it in so many different ways
Why is homemade pesto healthy?
Anything green usually means phytonutrients. These little nutrients are good for our organism and have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits protecting us against many diseases.
Spinach and basil are also filled with magnesium, a very important minerals our body cannot produce but needs to function properly. However, many of us are lacking this essential mineral which helps our bodies maintain balance, boosts our immunity, balances our nervous system, and maintain a general state of good health.
The pine nuts and parmesan add some protein and healthy fats to keep us strong and satiated for a few hours,
Serving tips for homemade pesto
What I love most about pesto is that you can use it in so many different ways to add a little extra to a simple dish.
Below are a few ideas:
- Mix in whole pasta.
- Top cod, salmon, or any kind of fish with a layer of pesto and bake until the fish is done.
- Same goes for chicken, lamb (delicious with mint pesto!), veal etc.
- Stir into rice, quinoa, or buckwheat for a jazzed up side dish.
- Eat as a green superfood sauce with any kind of meat or fish.
- Dip homemade seed crackers in pesto, or spread on a piece of whole wheat bread.
- Mix with eggs to make a deliciously flavored green omelette.
- Serve in a small glass topped with shrimps or smoked salmon for a fancy appetizer.
- Put a small teaspoon on top of a bruschetta.
- Drop some pesto on top of (homemade) pizza.
- Add as a layer to homemade lasagne (I usually spread some on the lasagne sheets).
- Spoon into a green soup.
The possibilities are endless!
Make it dairy-free with nutritional yeast
For a dairy-free version, substitute the parmesan with a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast. If you or your children have an issue with dairy I suggest you buy some nutritional yeast which is a cheese alternative popular with vegans and lactose-intolerants.
Nutritional yeast has a nutty, cheesy flavour and is filled with B-vitamins and also contains minerals like selenium and zinc. It’s low in calories and fat, and offers a fair amount of protein.
You can find it in most natural food stores in the form of flakes, granules or powder.
You might also like this recipe: kale and pistachio pesto.
1 medium jar
- 2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
- 1-2 handful fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup* (70 g) toasted pine nuts
- 1/2 cup (60 g) grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed (prefer fresh)
- 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup (about 100 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
*Unless stated differently, my recipes are measured with US measuring cups like these ones.
Feel free to play around with the ingredients, adding more basil, spinach, salt, lemon juice, parmesan etc. to match your own taste!
- Blend all ingredients in a food processor.
- Store in an air-tight container for up to a week, or freeze for up to 6 months in a jar, plastic bag, or ice cube tray.