Pesto is probably the most popular of all the pasta sauces outside of Italy. You can find it in every single supermarket! Its popular because its delicious, quick and easy! You buy a jar of pesto, cook the pasta and boom, dinner is served.
However, HOMEMADE PESTO is 100x better! The main ingredient in the classic green pesto is basil.. and when it comes to basil (and any other herb), fresh is always best.
The last pesto recipe I posted on the blog was made using a different recipe and a sightly different method.. in the last recipe I didn’t blanch (cook quickly in boiling water) the basil before blending it into the sauce. When the basil isn’t cooked beforehand it will have a stronger, more perfume-like taste.. but when you cook the basil it will be more subtle, less perfume-like and slightly sweeter. I am also using sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts or walnuts, when roasted they bring a lovely flavour to a pesto and are WAY WAY WAY cheaper!
This recipe shouldn’t take longer than 10-15 minutes to prepare and its pretty healthy, I used 55g of water to make this recipe less calorific.. but you can easily swap out the water and use 100% extra virgin olive oil, just remember it will have a slightly more bitter flavour. Enjoy!
Basil sunflower seed pesto
50g fresh basil leaves
30g fresh spinach
30g sunflower seeds (lightly toasted)
20g extra virgin olive oil
10g nutritional yeast
5g fresh garlic (green root removed)
1/4 tsp pink Himalayan salt
1. Bring a pot of boiling water to the boil. When it is boiling rapidly drop in the basil and the spinach and cook for 15 seconds.
2. After 15 seconds strain the leaves in a colander and then place them in ice cold water to stop the cooking process. This will give you a fresher and more bright green pesto.
3. Blend all the ingredients together in a food processor, I like to use a food processor as a pose to a blender because its important to keep some texture, of course its down to personal preference but I like to leave some chunks of seeds in my pesto.
4. Cook 120g of dried fusilli in lightly salted water and strain, add in the pesto and mix well, serve with diced fresh tomatoes and an extra drizzle of olive oil.
*The root of the garlic is usually a yellowy-green colour and has a very strong pungent taste when eaten raw, removing this will hopefully prevent the raw garlic in this recipe from being to overwhelming.
* You may wish to add a pinch more salt to this recipe, I put the minimum because its easy to miscalculate the salt amount of salt in a recipe if you add salt to your pasta water, so use it wisely.