Updated: Jun 20
Shop bought pesto is a handy thing to have emergency but I’m telling you that if you’ve never tried making your own that this might just change your life! I’ve always made a recipe for standard basil pesto which has always gone down an absolute treat - especially with the kids in our family. Pesto pasta is an all-time classic dish!
I did some research into different ingredients that could be used to jam-pack the recipe full of nutrients and it doesn’t compromise on flavour at all. My husband Mark is a classic green-ophobe and he absolutely loved it (sometimes it’s not just the kids I have to convince!).
A nutritional powerhouse belonging to the same family as chard, beetroot and quinoa. It is renound for its qualities to increase vitality, restore energy and is a rich source of iron. An excellent source of vitamins A and C, magnesium and vitamin B2. It is one of the richest sources of vitamin K, vital for bone health.
A strong member of the cabbage family, kale is nutrient dense and most commonly found as ‘curly kale’. Rich in vitamin A, C and K it also contains magnesium, potassium and calcium. Just one cup of kale is just 33 calories. Its also full of antioxidants which counteract oxidative damage- the leading causative factor of major diseases including cancer. Quercetin and kaempferol specifically found in kale have heart protecting, blood Pressure lowering, anti-inflammatory and anti depressive properties.
Hemp Protein Powder
High quality vegan protein containing all 9 amino acids making it a whole source of protein. These amino acids are useful for body repair and maintenance. It also contains fibre, healthy fats and minerals. it is particularly rich in Arginine which has proven benefit for heart health.
Also containing essential amino acids and contributing to the build of protein. As well as iron, potassium, magnesium, B vitamins and calcium. Some research states that spirulina has health benefits for a wide range of metabolism and heart disorders and also mental and emotional disorders.
It is worth noting that the literature surrounding nutrient supplements such as hemp and spirulina can be mixed and as with many things in this area, more research is needed. A balanced diet full of nutrient packed foods with ‘top ups’ from these boosters is highly recommended!
We served this pesto pesto with some homemade gnocchi (mashed potato, wholegrain flour and eggs) which was awesome. I’d never made it before but there are lots of different recipes out there! The Guardian do an excellent range of recipes on ‘How to make the perfect...’ And here’s the link
for the one for gnocchi:
Alternatively use with pasta, potato dishes, wraps, sandwiches, roasted vegetables. If you throw some of this in your next spaghetti bolognese youll be asking yourself how you’ve lived without it your whole life!
Makes enough for 8 servings
1 handful kale leaves
1 handful spinach
1 cup fresh basil leaves
½ cup fresh parsley
2 cloves of garlic
Juice of half a lemon
Freshly ground Salt and pepper
½ cup macadamias (see note)
1 teaspoon spirulina
2 tablespoons hemp protein powder
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (use the normal grater side- not the fine one)
1 - Add the kale, spinach, parsley, basil, garlic and lemon juice to a blender.
2- With your rapeseed oil at the ready, turn on the blender and pour the oil in a steady stream until you reach the desired consistency (should be a thick paste).
3- Add the macadamia nuts and pulse the pesto until the nuts are broken down but still add texture and crunch to the mix.
4- Stir through the grated Parmesan, hemp protein powder and spirulina. Season to taste with freshly ground salt and pepper.