When I was growing up I wasn’t ever really a fan of pesto. I used to find the basil, pine nut and oil mix overly heavy and cloying. When I went vegan I didn’t miss it.
In recent times, though, I’ve discovered the joy of making pesto at home rather than buying a jar. There’s so much more freedom to be had at home. You can choose your herbs, nuts and citrus flavourings which makes an altogether fresher and lighter base.
For this delicious and easy pesto I used coriander (or cilantro to some of you) as my herb of choice. It’s so versatile that you can incorporate it into lots of different recipes. You just have to be creative! It’s fresh, delicious, and combines classic Italian with some asian flavours.
I used this batch for stuffed mushrooms and for a pasta sauce 🙂
A large bunch of coriander
Juice of one lime
Half a green chilli
Clove of garlic
85g Raw almonds
A little water optional
If using to make a stuffing: two pieces of stale seeded bread
First blend the garlic and the chilli until minced then add the almonds and blend until finely chopped. Next add the coriander to the aromatic mix and pulse the herbs until they are as smooth as they can be without any wet ingredients.
Add the lime juice to the herb mix and blend again to combine. The mixture will still be quite thick. At this point you need to gradually start adding the olive oil. How much you use is up to you and you can substitute part of it for water but I’d recommend not totally omitting the oil. I used about 4tbsp of oil and one tbsp of water to achieve my desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. It’s now ready to be used in a recipe of your choosing!
Pesto stuffed Portobello Mushrooms:
So as I said, if you’re making a stuffing like I did for some mushrooms you’ll need to blend the bread slices to make breadcrumbs. Add these to the pesto mix and combine thoroughly. You can add some more liquid if the mixture seems too thick. Add the mixture to some partly cooked whole portobello mushrooms and grill for a further 3-5 minutes before serving hot from the oven.
Wholewheat and Coriander Pesto Pasta:
Add the pesto to some al dente wholewheat spaghetti along with a few cherry tomatoes. Stir to heat the pesto and tomatoes through for about 3 minutes over a medium heat. Serve with a little salad.