An Abundance of Herbs

If your vege garden has an abundance of flat leaf parsley, and let’s be honest right now mine has not much more than winter herbs and the odd weed or two or four – pesto is the perfect solution. Pesto can be stored in a screw top glass jar in the fridge for 1-2 weeks (seal the top of pesto with olive oil to retain its colour) or freeze in ice cube trays, transferring to a zip lock bag once frozen – perfect for popping straight into a pasta sauce or soup during cooking.

While a huge fan of traditional basil pesto I like to play with various combinations of herbs and nuts and often exclude the parmesean cheese.  Pistachio, mint and lime make a tasty variation but I’m still trying to perfect the recipe – will try next time I make it to capture the exact ingredients and measures.  

The following recipe was my contribution to the Churchill Park School cookbook that I photographed last year.  Both recipes make approximately 1 cup. 

Basil or Parsley Pesto

  • 2 cups basil (tightly packed) OR flat leaf parsley
  • 2 large cloves garlic (peeled and sliced)
  • ½ cup pinenuts
  • ¼ cup finely grated fresh parmesan
  • Approx ½ to ¾ cup good quality olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  1. Place the basil (or parsley) and garlic into food processor bowl and pulse until roughly chopped. 
  2. Add pinenuts and parmesan and process until well combined. 
  3. With motor running, drizzle in enough oil to form a smooth paste. 
  4. Season with freshly ground black pepper and a sprinkle of salt.
basil and pinenuts

Coriander & Walnut Pesto

  • 1 bunch coriander, stalks & all
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts
  • 2 large cloves garlic (peeled and sliced)
  • 2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • Zest & juice of two lemons
  • 1/4cup olive oil (more or less depending on desired consistency)
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  1. Place all ingredients except olive oil and seasoning in food processor, then pulse in bursts until coarsely mixed.
  2. Slowly add olive oil while motor is running.
  3. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Perfect with barbecued chicken skewers or roast chicken with crispy skin.

coriander walnut pesto

Tip: different herbs produce varying strengths of flavour intensity so it’s important to ensure you taste and adjust the seasoning before serving or if you’re not using immediately, sealing the jar with olive oil.

Hope you enjoy experimenting with various flavour combinations.