Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Nut free pesto

One of the foods I was most annoyed about missing out on after becoming allergic to nuts was pesto.  Not so annoyed about feeling compelled to consider raw almonds as a healthy alternative snack when hungry.  The skin prick tests unfortunately showed positive for pine-nuts so, even though I think they are considered a seed, they are off the list which is where the issues with pesto arise!

I had a big bunch of silverbeet to use up today and saw online that some people had used it to make pesto so I've had a crack at making my own pesto without pine-nuts and... it was delicious!  I was a bit sceptical at first but was is actually really good, didn't taste like silverbeet at all. Definitely better than steaming it. And a much better option than plain boiled silverbeet.

I don't have a food processor so made it with the stick mixer which seemed to work pretty well.  I also partially steamed the first lot of silverbeet but didn't bother with the second lot and it didn't seem to make any difference. I also didn't really drain/dry the steamed silverbeet and didn't get any excess liquid (a common concern of the online recipe writers).

Recipe:
  • A bunch of silverbeet (I used about 6-7 stems)
  • Bunch of parsley (maybe a cup or so)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 120 g feta
  • 50 g Parmesan
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup olive oil
Put the silverbeet and parsley in a bowl (or food processor) with the feta and some Parmesan.  Whizz it up until all the silverbeet has been fully mulched up, it will go this really amazing green colour.  Drizzle in the olive oil during the food processing (or if stick mixing, just stir it through at the end).  

Pesto and peas
I mixed in some more Parmesan at the end with some of the olive oil and gave it a final mix with the stick mixer.  

I actually found that I liked it better with less oil.  A lot of the recipes call for about a cup of oil (250ml), I didn't use anywhere near that much.  It was actually really tasty with no oil as well so that's a healthy option to consider if you're really keen. 

And no nuts? Well I thought it was fine, but good to road test with a peanut-butter-nutter:
Me: so how did you like the pesto?
WB: yeah it was good.
Me: did you miss the nuts?
WB: no.
Me: so it was fine with no nuts?
WB: yeah didn't think about it.

Good chat.  But it appears its fine without the pine-nuts.

I like coriander pesto so might make the same recipe with coriander next time (WB thinks coriander tastes metallic so will be an interesting road test with that one).  Also the pesto could be good with some lemon juice squeezed through.   Apparently you can also turn it into a dip by adding sour cream.  Could be an idea for the weekend - I even remembered to buy sour cream at the supermarket so good to go. 

Its also great as a pasta sauce - fettuccine, pesto, peas mushrooms and chorizo made for a pretty easy mid week dinner.  Slightly better photo than the kale and quinoa salad below. 
  
Pasta with pesto, mushrooms and chorizo

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