Recipe: Pesto in many forms


Pesto is one of those essentials, a perennial item in the fridge. Learn to play with it to vary textures and tastes. The recipe for pesto can be generalised to other herbs, for example, chervil and lemon balm make quite extravagant pesti. Coriander Pesto is good. Some may say that such recipes are not pesto, but keep in mind that parsley and marjoram have been used in place of basil for a long time in Italy. In Germany, a Green Sauce is made in similar fashion to pesto from a mixture of 7 herbs.

It is worth learning to make pesto by hand with a  mortar and pestle – the difference is substantial. Once you’ve made it this way you will never ever go back.

Are you looking for pasta sauces? Try Pasta with a Cauliflower Sauce, Baked Tomato Pasta Sauce, and Pasta Sauce with Aubergine, Red Peppers and Tomato.

You might also like our Pesto recipes here and here. All of our Pasta Sauce recipes are here. Or you might like to browse our Italian recipes here and here. Alternatively, take some time to check out our easy Mid Summer recipes.

Feel free to browse other recipes from our Retro Recipes series – vegetarian recipes from our first blog from 1995 – 2006.

Coriander Pesto | Dips Sauces | Vegetarian | Heat in The Kitchen

Many-varied Pesto | Basil-Herb Spread

There is a classic pesto which is a mixture of basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan and olive oil. However, you can make endless variations on this theme, to use as pasta sauces, dips, sauces, …….

essential basil olive oil
salt and pepper
supplement the herbs with parsley green coriander (cilantro)
small amounts of western herbs, such as oregano, marjoram, even sage (tiny amount) eastern herbs such as lemon grass, Asian mints
garlic chilli
horseradish onion
additional flavourings sun dried tomatoes black olives
red capsicum (perhaps roasted) roasted eggplant
tomato paste (great if it is home-made)
nuts etc pine nuts walnuts
hazelnuts almonds or almond meal, etc…
cheese parmesan or similar cheese and pecorino cream cheese
for a texture change, add zucchini cucumber
for a bite add nasturtium leaves (for a bite)

Add selected ingredients, except oil, to a food processor (purists can use a mortar and pestle). Blend until smooth, adding a little oil to assist the process. When smooth, add oil very slowly until the desired consistency is achieved (this depends on the use – i.e. thicker for a dip, thinner for a sauce).

Be inventive! Select ingredients with complimentary flavours e.g. Italian style with basil, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, oregano, olives, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, or more Asian with basil, coriander, Asian mints, lemon grass, and chilli.

This is certainly a “clean the fridge out” recipe!


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