I probably should have called this ‘Hey Pesto!’ because technically, pesto isn’t an ingredient. However, I use pesto all the time and in ridiculously large quantities so in my world it might as well be an ingredient!

Pesto, especially the really good stuff, can be quite expensive for small amounts, and while making it at home can be costly (depending on where you do your grocery shopping, if you’re like me it’s mostly at M&S), it’s super quick and easy, and there are no preservatives. I find that my own doesn’t go off as quickly.

The method for each of the recipes below is the same so I won’t bore you by writing it beneath each one. Honestly, it’s simple – just put everything into a food processor and blend! I usually start with the garlic and main ingredients, and I tend to wait to add the olive oil just before the final blend. How much oil you use is completely up to you. For example, if I’m using the pesto as a pasta sauce I’ll add far more than I would if the pesto was being used as a spread.

Make sure that the nuts, whether they be pine nuts, almonds or walnuts, have been toasted before you use them. To toast, simply spread them on a lined baking tray and put them in the oven (I use a fan oven) at 180 degrees for about ten minutes. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn, (we’ve had a few catastrophes)!!

First up: Basil Pesto

Yes, it is your standard pesto, and while this is fairly inexpensive to buy (depending on the brand of course), it is so much nicer if you make it yourself. My roommate always has a basil plant (aptly names Basil!) on the windowsill in the kitchen so I’ve no excuse not to make my own pesto!

What you need:

  • Basil – I use a few handfuls of leaves
  • Garlic clove
  • Handful of toasted Pine Nuts
  • Handful of grated Parmesan

Sundried Tomato and Almond Pesto

This is probably my favourite in this post. I love it as a pasta sauce (add extra olive oil), or I’ll put it in wraps with falafel or cheese. The parmesan is optional, but I always include it.

What you need:

  • Sundried Tomatoes – I use about 2/3rds of a jar as I devour the stuff!
  • Parmesan – a good handful
  • Garlic Clove
  • Flaked Almonds (don’t forget to toast them)
  • Olive Oil

The next two are a great way to add extra green, leafy veg to your diet without feeling like a rabbit! It’s also handy for using up spinach and kale before they go off if they’re leftover and sitting in the fridge.

Kale and Walnut Pesto

I make this based on taste. Kale can be extremely peppery, and with garlic adding to the kick, I taste as I go and try to balance the flavour by adding basil. It’s up to you how you make this one! I’d definitely recommend substituting the pine nuts with walnuts if you’re looking to add to the flavour.

What you need:

  • Handful of Kale
  • 1/2 Garlic Clove
  • Handful of Pine Nuts – I’m quite generous with this
  • Handful of Basil Leaves
  • Olive Oil

Spinach Pesto

I only eat spinach raw, I despise it cooked, and I find I can never make my way through a bag before the leaves wilt and go off. I hate waste and because this pesto lasts well it’s a great way of using up those leaves. As with the kale pesto, balancing the flavours and tasting as you go is the key.

What you need:

  • Handful of Spinach Leaves
  • 1/2 Garlic Clove
  • Pine Nuts
  • Handful of Parmesan
  • Olive Oil

Beetroot and Walnut Pesto

This pesto is divine with pasta, as a spread in sandwiches or wraps, but my favourite way to use it is if I’m making goats cheese crostini. A layer of this between the toast and cheese is just divine!

What you need:

  • Cooked Beets
  • Toasted Walnuts
  • Basil Leaves
  • Rocket Leaves
  • 1/2 Garlic Clove
  • Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar

Now I’ve shared my secret pesto passion, I hope you’ll let me know if you make any of these! They’re super simple, and taste so good!

Enjoy! 🙂

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