Pesto is such a versatile sauce because it can be used in many different ways – mixed in pasta, in sandwiches, over pizza, etc. Traditional pesto is usually made with cheese and a lot of oil – not great if you’re trying to stick to a healthy lifestyle. In my recipe, I substitute most of the oil with frozen green peas – which not only add a fantastic green color, they are rich in vitamin K, manganese, vitamin B1, and fiber. Lemon juice brightens up this sauce’s flavor and mimics the sourness of cheese.
Makes 1 3/4 cups
1/4 cup cashews, almonds, walnuts, or hulled sunflower seeds
250g bag of frozen peas (about 1 1/2 cups), thawed
2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/4 cup lemon juice or calamansi juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp water
3/4 tsp coarse sea salt or to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper or to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 F / 180 C / gas mark 4. Roast the nuts or seeds until toasty and fragrant. Set aside and let cool.
slivered almonds – 5 minutes
walnuts – 7 minutes
cashews – 10 minutes
whole almonds – 12 to 15 minutes
sunflower seeds – 15 to 20 minutes
- Place the nuts / seeds and garlic in a food processor and process until ground. Add the peas, lemon juice, olive oil, water, salt, and pepper and process until smooth. Adjust seasonings accordingly.
- Store in the refrigerator up to 7 days. Toss with freshly cooked pasta, use as a spread in sandwiches, or as a dip with fresh vegetable sticks (cucumber, singkamas, carrots, celery).