My recipe for a Budget Friendly Basil Pesto – perfect for pasta dishes and sandwiches and marinades. Pesto, from the Italian word pestare – to pound, is made by crushing several ingredients together. Basil Pesto, as the name suggests, uses Basil – my absolute favourite herb. A tweak I have made on the recipe is to use almond nuts instead of pine.
The reason being – Pine Nuts cost a fortune! A 100g bag costs R120 and almonds are a third of that price and have a very similar taste and texture, so they make a good substitute in this recipe.
So, let’s get started. Remember to tag me or comment below if you use this recipe. 🙂
· 150g Fresh, washed Basil leaves
· 100g Raw Cashew Nuts
· 50 – 60ml Olive Oil and a bit more for later
· 3/4 cup of good quality, grated parmesan or “hard cheese” from Woolworths
· 1 clove of garlic
· Half a Lemon
· Crushed Salt to taste
· Crushed Pepper to taste
1. Peel skin off the garlic clove and let it sit in 50 ml of Olive oil for 2 hours to infuse the oil. I personally can’t eat garlic due to my LOW FODMAP diet, so I rather infuse the oil with it.
- Rinse basil and chop finely on a chopping board. Use a chef’s knife like the below one, which will help you to chop
Toss the cashews onto the chopping board and chop, chop, chop until fine. This will take a while, so have patience. Then add the grated cheese and chop further
- Once pesto is finely chopped (should take 15 – 20 minutes), transfer to a bowl and pour the infused olive oil over (get rid of the garlic clove at this point)
Using the back of a spoon, mash the basil mixture into the olive oil for 2 minutes
Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to your taste
Pour 10 – 15ml of olive oil over the top of the pesto – you need just enough to bind the sauce and get it to an oozy consistency
Stir your basil pesto into plain boiled pasta, top it on a cheese sandwich or cracker, or baste it over a cooked chicken breast – basically, you can add it to any dish that needs sprucing up! Basil is very versatile and compliments an array of dishes
The basil pesto can be kept frozen for up to 4 months. Transfer half the pesto to a small airtight container and drizzle with olive oil to cover. To defrost, place in the fridge for 3-4 hours or until thawed. Don’t forget to stir it up before serving.