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Punchy No-Waste Pesto

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

Have you guys ever bought some herbs for a recipe that you wanted to try out, used the leaves and then wondered what to do with the leftover stems?  Did you end up throwing them out? What about when you’ve used all the florets of your broccoli – what did you do with the broccoli stem after?

Pesto is a vibrant, punchy sauce that goes well with meat, pasta, roast veggies, used as a topping for garlic bread or even used in a salad dressing!  It is a wonderfully easy way to turn those leftover bits of produce (such as those that don’t look quite as fresh) into…. treasure…. that are normally classed as… trash.  The best thing about a good pesto recipe- you can make it with pretty much anything green. 

Today, I’m going to introduce you to a basic pesto recipe that is fully adaptable to use up any leftover herbs and green leaves such as spinach.  You may want to add a touch more oil, a bit more spice or a splash of water with some of the variations to loosen up the mixture a bit, making it more creamy. I guarantee that pesto tastes delicious with any addition.

For this recipe, I have tried:

– All types of herbs- leaves and/or ends

– Broccoli florets and stems

– Wilted baby spinach or rocket

– Kale

Give it a go with any green thing you happen to find! This week we are exploring the wonders of spinach. If you read yesterday’s feature- you’ll know that spinach offers up THREE TIMES the nutrition when you cook or blend it- so making pesto isn’t just delicious- it makes spinach even better for you! Without further a do- here is a spinach based pesto recipe for your dining pleasure!

What you need:

2 cups of spinach (or any green thing)

1 clove garlic, smashed (or more to taste)

1/3 cup pine nuts

2 tbs parmesan cheese

3-4 tbs olive oil 

Salt and pepper to taste

Juice of ½ lemon

What to do:

In a food processor or blender, add the greens, garlic, pine nuts, cheese and seasoning and pulse under well combined but not totally smooth.  Drizzle in the oil whilst pulsing and continue for a few more seconds until smooth and creamy.  Add the lemon juice and re-season if required. 

If you have more than you can use in a few days- pesto is a champion in the freezer! Some people pack it into ice cube trays- making smaller serving pieces, freeze them and then pop them into freezer bags for future use.

*note- for the version in the photos- I also added a bit of left over mint and parsley I had laying around… Delish!

The above is a pesto feast! Pesto pasta with sautéed veggies, pesto garlic bread and pesto based salad dressing!


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