For years now I have been trying to grown my own Basil. I constantly find excuses to use it in everything I make; from bread, chocolate mousse, sandwiches, pizzas, etc. So it was only natural that I find a way to grow it myself without having to spend lots of money every time I go to the supermarket.
Basil plants are easily available in nurseries around the city. All they need is sandy mud, fresh water every day and loads of sunshine. Alternatively, you can always purchase fresh basil at any Nature’s basket store.
This month my plant is in full bloom so I’ve taken the opportunity to make some pesto for the house. I’ve used a very simple recipe that’s easy to recreate and light on the pocket. However, feel free to add or subtract ingredients as you see fit. This pesto lasts for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
Fresh Green / Purple Basil Leaves (1 cup), Extra Virgin Olive Oil (1/4 cup), Walnuts (1/4 cup), Garlic (1 large clove), Lime Juice (3 teaspoons), Salt & Pepper to taste
- You can swap the walnuts for lightly toasted pine nuts. Walnuts are easier to find and relatively cheaper.
- I don’t add parmesan cheese to my pesto to ensure I can serve it to vegan guests as well. Secondly if you are looking to store some of it in the fridge, pesto keeps better without the cheese.
- If you are vegan and desire the cheesy taste in your pesto you can add about 3 gms of nutritional yeast to the recipe.
- If you are trying to be extra healthy you can always use a mix of oil & water instead of all oil, though it will shorten the shelf life. Alternatively you can use whey water, basil juice (for an extra punch of flavour), chickpea water, in various combinations depending upon your palate and need.
Roughly chop your basil leaves & add them with the walnuts into a food processor. Pulse until well incorporated. Add garlic and pulse.
Add the oil slowly in a slow stream or in several portions. The idea is for all the ingredients to come together into a nice consistency. Therefore, make sure to keep checking and add / reduce the oil / water accordingly.
Season with salt, pepper & lime juice. If you are storing it for later use, add a little more oil on top to ensure it keeps well. Before serving grate some fresh parmesan cheese over it and give it a quick mix.