Pesto is so versatile, I find myself using it so many times when my mind is a blank and my vegetable crisper is on zero. I also find that it is an easy way to get a whole load of nutrients into kids. I’ve made beetroot pestos (okay, we can call it a dip!), kale pestos, coriander pestos, and today I made a rocket and basil pesto. I pack them in my kids lunch boxes for them to dip some carrot sticks or cucumber in. Sometimes we use it on rice crackers or cucumber slices, other times, we use it in pasta. I like versatility in a dish. It gives me endless options and unleashes my creativity.
With today’s pesto, I added fresh rocket and basil, olive oil, garlic, nutritional yeast, brazil nuts, cashew nuts, sun dried tomatoes, salt and pepper.
Roast the nuts. That’s the best tip I can give you. They are so unlike raw nuts. They have a sweet aftertaste that is so lip-smacking.
Rocket, or aragula, is a slight peppery salad green. It is a cruciferous vegetable (like brussel sprouts and broccoli) that could prevent cancer with its amazing nutrient profile. It contains Vitamin K, A, C and folate. In a world where so many people are Vitamin K deficient, a cup of rocket everyday, and you’d be singing your way to good health. It helps with eye, bone and heart health. It’s a great green to add to your diet at least three times a week.
Basil is a super herb – it is an excellent source of Vitamin K, essential for bone and heart health and is supposed to have anti cancer properties. It is also a fantastic source of manganese which helps balance hormones (menopausal women, are you listening?) It also contains the Vitamins A and C, besides iron, calcium and folate (pregnant women, you need to get enough of basil too). I used two types of basil in my recipe because I had them growing in my garden – holy basil and the normal basil that you find in the supermarket. As with any greens, make sure you don’t heat basil as it will loose its nutrients.
Olive oil when combined with tomato has great benefits for your heart. It is anti-inflammatory and contains Vitamin E. When heated, olive oil becomes unstable and loses it’s nutritional profile, so don’t heat it or use it for cooking. Adding it raw to salads and pestos is the way to go.
Nutritional yeast is high in B vitamins which are essential for nails, hair and skin. It is especially good for vegetarians as it is high in Vitamin B12 that is crucial to the nervous system and is mainly found in animal products. It is also a complete protein that keeps you full, great for concentration (have you tried concentrating when you are hungry?) and is very good for your immune system.
A true super-hero in the nutrition / foodie world, raise your glass to the humble pesto!
10 minute pesto with greens
- 3/4 cup hot water
- 1/2 cup cashew nuts soaked with the sun dried tomatoes in hot water for 5-7 minutes
- 3 sundried tomatoes soaked with the cashew nuts in hot water for 5-7 minutes
- Handful basil and tulsi (holy basil)
- Handful salad rocket
- 1/3 cup brasil nuts roasted
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 clove garlic peeled
- Salt to taste
- Couple of pinches black pepper powder
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Soak the cashew nuts and sundried tomatoes in a bowl with hot water
- Meanwhile, dry roast the brasil nuts in a pan over low to medium heat
- Add the all ingredients (including the water used for soaking), except the olive oil, in a high speed blender (add the water first, then the greens and other light ingredients and then the heavy nuts). Whizz
- Add some of the olive oil and keep whizzing or pulse
- Add all the olive oil and pulse till you reach the desired consistency (chunky or smooth)