Pesto is like a multivitamin and minerals in food form. What it doesn’t have in it, isn’t worth having!
It’s a superb way of getting greens into your kids along with healthy fats for a sharp brain and sustained energy levels. It contains immune boosting antioxidants, gut feeding prebiotics, vitamins, minerals, protein and fibre for healthy bowel movements and supporting hormone production in the gut.
It ticks all the boxes for a busy family life:
it’s highly versatile (add to salads, risotto, soups, fish, sandwiches, stir fries, pasta, and as a dip!)
quick to make
Something nutritious that can last in the fridge for a few days is always a bonus!
Traditionally pesto is made with pine nuts, making it quite expensive and not really a daily ‘must have’ in the fridge. It’s far more accessible and in my opinion nicer, to use cashews. Being married to an Italian and having an Italian restaurant in the past, my pesto has had some tough critics. Hand on heart, I have always won the ‘Italians’ over with cashews.
You can mix the recipe up to introduce different vitamins and minerals for specific benefits:
Walnuts & Brazil nuts for selenium levels to support our happy head hormones, the nervous system and energy levels through delivering more oxygen to the cells and reducing inflammation.
Cashews boast the highest levels of magnesium (otherwise termed the ‘human tranquiliser’), to support the calmer nervous system, rest, recovery, digestion, sleep and organisation of thoughts.
Sunflower seeds are high in thiamine (B1) needed to help us convert food into energy, and selenium for immune, energy and hormone support.
Pumpkin seeds are highest in Zinc which is married to magnesium in the body to help with healing and recovery. Zinc is a major player with immune health. As well as working synergistically with other vitamins and minerals to make up the immune system, it works independently to aggressively attack bacteria and viruses entering the body.
Pesto can be made vegan by substituting the cheese with Nutritional Yeast.
This is a great way to get B12 into a vegan diet. B12 is absolutely essential for our clearance pathways to work efficiently, leaving us with healthy, fully functioning cells. Low levels of B12 are connected to heart and brain related diseases such as high cholesterol and early onset dementia.
If we do stick to cheese, go for organic parmigiana to avoid growth hormones that can effect the way our own hormones message one another. If that’s not accessible look for pecorino cheese which is a mixture of sheep and goat. This means the chances of it being cleaner and less farmed are higher and the cost is much lower than organic cows cheese.
1 cup cashews (or mixture of nuts)
3 garlic cloves
2x basil plants.
¼ cup olive oil & ¼ cup sunflower oil
Grated pecorino or organic parmigiana (vegan option -2 tbsp nutritional yeast)
¼ tsp balsamic vinegar and/or ¼ Tsp Apple Cider Vinegar (‘with the mother’ for more prebiotics benefits.
Blend the nuts, oil, garlic and basil together then add the balsamic/ACV and cheese or nutrition yeast if going vegan.
Blend once more.
You may need to increase the amount of olive oil accordingly and add a-few more nuts at the end to keep a chunky texture!
Store in a glass jar in the fridge for 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.