BASIL AND CHILLI PESTO


Since my daughter was unable to eat gluten (over 9 years ago now), my husband and I have changed our eating habits. Not only from a wheat based diet to a gluten free one but we also started eating organic food as much as possible (I’d say 60% of what we consume is organically grown and made). One of the reasons we went organic (amongst many) is because non-organic produce often contains harmful hormones and pesticides which in turn can cause health issues. When our daughter became ‘unwell’ we just decided it was the way to go for us. This is not to say that we don’t eat out or that I don’t buy a tub of gluten free ice cream from the supermarket! Of course we do! But we do try as much as possible to limit non-organic food.

It is for this reason that I grow in my little suburban garden a few herbs and a couple of veggies. This summer I grew an abundance of snake beans, tomatoes (they didn’t produce much), Vlita (Greek Wild Spinach) and herbs. That’s it. Not much but just enough to give me a couple of meals a week for the whole 3 summer months.

My basil had finally come to an end and after I picked the last of it, I asked everyone on Instagram what I should do with it and 95% of people preferred I turn it into Basil Pesto. Now there are a million and one recipes for Basil Pesto out there so I wanted to do something different. Since I am hoping to start the Whole 30 program again, I turned it into a Vegan Paleo Basil and Chilli Pesto! In other words it is dairy and sugar free with a great kick to it due to the chilli. I’ve also added walnuts (not just pine nuts) because walnuts are brain food that are high in omega – 3 fatty acids (plus most Greeks love walnuts).

Now most people add pesto to their pasta but there are so many more things you can use it for including, spreading it onto bread / toast, using it as a condiment, adding it to salad or even serving it as a dip! The possibilities are endless, so I always make a big batch of it. If the quantities in this recipe are too much for you, then halve everything. It makes about 2 medium size jars. Enjoy x

3 cups fresh basil leaves (about 120g)

1 cup olive oil

2 garlic cloves

¾ cup pine nuts (plus extra to garnish)

½ cup walnuts

juice of 1 lemon

fresh chilli

  1. In a food processor, add the nuts and blitz until roughly chopped. Empty into a bowl.

  2. Now add the garlic, chilli and basil to the food processor and blitz until roughly chopped (you may need to do this in 2 batches).

  3. Add back into the food processor the nuts, olive oil, lemon juice and pulse until just combined. Do not over pulse as it will bruise the basil.

  4. Garnish with whole pine nuts and an extra drizzle of EVOO.

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