Pesto made easy

Coming from an Italian background means I love simple, delicious, strong and diverse flavours, probably because I grew up eating them, exposure is key. These trends have remained throughout my life and if you haven’t noticed, I like to keep both the preparing of food and the eating of food simple, delicious and with strong and diverse flavours.

And this recipe is no exception.

Plus, it’s seasonal (basil grows in the warmer months of the year) and I have been promoting seasonal eating because I think our bodies need to eat the right foods at the right times (more to come on that)…

Like mayonnaise and many other sauces, (see my mayo recipe here), the store bought variety is NEVER the healthiest option. The main culprits are the hidden sugars, then there are the dreaded vegetable oils, and don’t forget the additives, preservatives, colourings, thickening agents etc etc, that all help to keep that bottle or jar sitting on the shelf for months and months and months. I mean, it’s crazy to think that raw eggs can sit on a shelf for so long and not spoil right?! Food SHOULD spoil otherwise it’s not food! And ok, we have fantastic technology that helps us to store things for longer but is all the rest worth our health?!

I would argue NO WAY!!

So what to do instead? How to have your own sauces on a regular basis? Do like people used to do – make them!!

So this pesto recipe contains no nasties, no sunflower oil (commonly found in store bought pesto) and no fake preservatives. Everything is natural, it takes no time at all to make and it tastes AMAZING! I’m not even exaggerating here, I could eat this day and night.

Ok, so see below for the super simple, delicious and good for the gut, pesto recipe.

Wait, did she just say good for the gut?!

Yes ladies and gents, this recipe contains garlic which is a prebiotic food. Prebiotic foods feed the good gut bacteria. They are a form of fibre and they lead to a healthier digestive tract, promoting the growth of good bacteria (we all know that garlic is great for immunity right…oh and keeping vampires at bay duh). One thing about garlic, is that it should be consumed raw for the full benefits and now who eats garlic raw?! Not I. Oh wait, I do when it’s in pesto!

So yes, good bacteria grows stronger with garlic which boosts our immune system and we get the pleasurable sensation from eating this pesto because of the added garlic. You may get a little wafty on the breath but if your people don’t love you for your garlic breath, then do you really need those people in your life?! Again I would argue no way ūüėČ

Ok, regarding the other ingredients…

Basil. Firstly, as mentioned, it is in season and according to many sources, it is anti everything :). It is a great antioxidant, is anti-inflammatory, is antibacterial and antimicrobial amongst many other things. Here is Dr. Axe to tell you more.

Pinenuts. These heavenly little seeds (yep, they are seeds from the pine tree, not a nut at all) are wonderful in salads, sprinkled on top of almost anything and imho taste best when pan fried in some fat enough so they get a little colour and a little crunch. This recipe, however, calls for them raw. What are the benefits of pinenuts? Fat of course. The fatty acid expressed in pine nuts, pinolenic acid, is said to suppress appetite (as does most fat) and as they also contain magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin K and manganese, they are good for heart health. They contain anti-oxidants too which are great for anti-aging and finally, the monounsaturated fat, protein and iron found in pine nuts gives us additional energy.

So what’s not to love about this nut, I mean seed?!

Olive oil.¬†There’s a lot of negative talk around olive oil because of the dishonest people out there creating fake stuff so make sure you source your olive oil from reliable sources, that you can even visit the grove and see for yourself where production is taking place. If you’re not that lucky, you may need to ask a few more questions but don’t just buy something generic from the supermarket, you’re almost guaranteed fake.

All this aside, we know how good mono-unsaturated fats are for us as the mediterranean diet is constantly said to be the ultimate way of eating. But basically the fats in olive oils, along with fat-soluble vitamins it contains like E and K have all the same properties that I’ve mentioned so far: antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, plus being great for the heart and brain.

Parmesan.¬†Although I don’t each dairy, this is one thing I usually have in my fridge. If you buy authentic Parmigiano Reggiano, it is said to be lactose free (it ages for one year, eating up all these sugars). In addition to this, the low moisture content means no bacteria. High in protein, calcium and vitamins, parmesan cheese (provided its good quality), is an awesome food.

But let’s talk more about this delicious recipe…

To serve pesto, you have multiple different options…

  • Dipping sauce

When you go to a party, why not take some home made pesto with some flax crackers (or veggie sticks) as the dipper?

  • “Pasta/spaghetti” sauce

Even though us low carbers don’t eat pasta or spaghetti anymore (because we know first hand the negative effects of wheat on our bodies, inside and out), we can still make a delicious “pasta” dish without the pasta. Try making some zoodles and mixing in the sauce.

Alternatively, shirataki noodles are a great spaghetti alternative.

  • Put it on meat. Seriously, just do it.

 

 

  • Put it on veggies.¬†I particularly like it with cauli mash but you could put it on anything such as zucchini or eggplant (watch this night-shade veggie though), or any grilled veggies would go perfectly with this sauce!

 

So if you’ve read up to here, you must be considering giving this recipe a try. Go on, do it! The texture is lovely and the taste, delicious with the flavour kicks of garlic, parmesan, olive oil, salt and of course, the star ingredient, basil.

Finally, to store:

  • Put it in an airtight jar but also cover it with a layer of olive oil as this will preserve the contents underneath.
  • Scoop out what you need and top up the olive oil “cover” when you need.

Eat and enjoy!

As always, please comment below if you have tried this recipe and how you enjoyed it.

 

With love (and healthy fats), Bianca x

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