Meat Free Monday – Fresh Homemade Pesto

2014 03 10_1587

Even though this has to be one of the quickest, simplest meals I can think of it really packs a flavour punch and definitely doesn’t leave you missing the meat in your dish. We have successfully managed to grow our own basil plant so even though pine nuts seem to be more expensive than gold the meal is actually pretty budget friendly too!

After a quick search on Google I’ve established that the reason for pine nuts being so expensive is due to poor crops, because of deforestation and climate change, combined with the labor intensive nature of harvesting them. I had no idea that they grew inside pine cones and have to be harvested by hand so they actually seeds rather than nuts. Well there you go!

Freddie loves this hot or cold and pasta and pesto have become a weekly addition to his school lunchbox. His idea not mine after seeing me organising his Daddy’s lunch a few weeks back he demanded the same. I was rather skeptical at the time but the dish came back completely empty. If your children like tomatoes chop up some cherry tomatoes and stir through along with olives and for more protein sliced up chicken breast works well.

Pesto is incredibly versatile adding a beautiful depth of flavour to all kind of dishes or just spread on crunchy bread it is pretty yummy too. The amounts below are my preferences I would definitely recommend playing around with your ingredients ratios to achieve a flavour balance your family enjoys. You might want to make the recipe below in larger volumes and then store it for future meals. To keep it fresh place the pesto into a jam jar and pour a layer of olive oil on top to seal it. This way it should keep for a couple of weeks (it doesn’t last that long in our house though). Alternatively you can spoon the pesto into an ice cube tray to freeze it for easy future use, this is a good trick for half eaten bought jars too.

Homemade Pesto
Suitable from around 8 months
Will keep in the fridge in a jam jar for around 2 weeks or can be frozen into ice cubes
Makes: for 2 adult and 3 child portions (I have been told that I’m a bit mean on the pesto to pasta ratio though!)
Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: 0 minutes, just stir through you fresh pasta!

2014 03 10_15932 large handfuls of basil leaves
25g roasted pine nuts
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves
15g freshly grated parmesan

Roast the pine nuts in the oven at around 200 ‘C until the just turn golden.2014 03 10_1595

I use the ‘chopper’ part of my blender to make pesto. Place 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the garlic cloves into the chopper and blend to chop up the garlic until it is a paste.

Add the basil leaves and pulse until the are chopped but not liquified.2014 03 10_1596

Add the roasted pine nuts and pulse again. Pine nuts are pretty soft and chop up really quickly. I like my pesto to have some texture so don’t over chop. Add the parmesan and pulse one final time.2014 03 10_1598

If it seems too pasty add a bit more olive oil and stir through.

Season with freshly ground salt and pepper and stir through fresh pasta. Garnish with a scattering of basil leaves and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

For a super fast meat free Monday meal simply stir through cooked fresh pasta and serve straight away. We often eat it with a side salad. If your toddler looks at it sceptically you could always call it monster slime! Enjoy.

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4 thoughts on “Meat Free Monday – Fresh Homemade Pesto

  1. Pingback: Meat Free Monday – Easy Mini Calzone | Freddie's Food

  2. Pingback: 8 Top Tips to Boost your Family’s Immunity | Freddie's Food

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