Lemon Basil Pesto

Last week I bought a large pack of fresh basil.  I just needed a few leaves for a pasta dish which we were having over the weekend so the rest of the pack has been sitting in my fridge ever since.  It always annoys me that I end up wasting so much of this delicious herb.  But not this time!  Yesterday I decided I would put this delicious basil to good use.  Enter our new lemon basil pesto!

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I glanced around my fridge and pantry and realised that I had most of the ingredients to make a delicious pesto.  No pine nuts though, so after a quick visit to the supermarket after work I was ready to start working on my new recipe. 

Quick, Delicious and Nutritious

This lemon basil pesto is not only quick and easy to make but is totally delicious and full of nutrients too. 

Basil

 Not only does basil add incredible flavour to dishes, but it also offers numerous health benefits. Basil is rich in antioxidants, particularly flavonoids, which help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. It also contains essential oils like eugenol, which has anti-inflammatory properties and may help alleviate pain. Additionally, basil is a good source of vitamins A, K, and C, as well as minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron, which are essential for overall health.

Parmesan Cheese

While Parmesan cheese is often enjoyed for its delicious taste, it also provides several health benefits. Parmesan cheese is a good source of protein and calcium, which are essential for bone health. It also contains phosphorus, which helps maintain healthy teeth and bones. Additionally, Parmesan cheese is relatively low in lactose, making it easier to digest for those with lactose intolerance.

Lemon

Adding lemon juice to recipes not only enhances flavour but also provides a variety of health benefits. Lemons are rich in vitamin C, which supports the immune system and helps the body absorb iron from plant-based foods. They also contain antioxidants like flavonoids and limonoids, which may help reduce inflammation and lower the risk of chronic diseases. Drinking lemon juice mixed with water is a popular remedy for digestive issues and may aid in digestion and detoxification.

Pine Nuts

Pine nuts are nutrient-dense nuts that offer numerous health benefits. They are rich in heart-healthy fats, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which may help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Additionally, pine nuts are good sources of protein, fibre, vitamins, and minerals, such as magnesium, copper, and manganese. Eating nuts regularly as part of a balanced diet has been associated with improved weight management and a reduced risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.

Garlic

Garlic not only adds a delicious flavour to dishes but also provides powerful health benefits. Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. It also has anti-inflammatory effects and may help boost the immune system. Consuming garlic regularly has been linked to lower blood pressure, improved cholesterol levels, and a reduced risk of heart disease. Additionally, garlic may have anticancer properties and contribute to overall longevity and well-being.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil:

Extra virgin olive oil is a staple of the Mediterranean diet and is prized for its numerous health benefits. It is rich in monounsaturated fats, particularly oleic acid, which is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. Extra virgin olive oil also contains powerful antioxidants, such as vitamin E and polyphenols, which help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Additionally, it has anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, certain cancers, and type 2 diabetes.

Lemon Basil Pesto

Recipe by Colleene Wink
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking timeminutes

Ingredients

  • 60 grams fresh basil leaves

  • 60 grams of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • 120 millimetres of extra virgin olive oil

  • 50 grams of pine nuts or walnuts

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Toast the pine nuts or walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat until lightly golden. Stir frequently to prevent burning.
  • In a food processor, combine the basil leaves, toasted nuts, minced garlic, Parmesan cheese, and lemon juice. Pulse until coarsely chopped.
  • With the food processor running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream until the mixture is smooth and well combined. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
  • With the food processor running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream until the mixture is smooth and well combined. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
  • Transfer the pesto to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. It can be kept for up to a week, or you can freeze it for longer storage.

Our Lemon Basil Pesto Is Versatile Too

Having a jar of our delicious homemade lemon basil pesto in your fridge also enables you to make a whole range of delicious meals. Here are just a few examples of what you could make with our lemon basil pesto.

Pasta

Toss the pesto sauce with cooked pasta (such as spaghetti, linguine, or penne) for a quick and flavorful meal. You can also add some sautéed vegetables or grilled chicken for added texture and protein.

Sandwiches and Wraps

Spread pesto sauce onto bread or wraps as a flavorful spread for sandwiches. Add your favourite fillings such as sliced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, grilled vegetables, or deli meats for a delicious lunch option.

Salads

Use pesto sauce as a dressing for salads. It adds a burst of flavour to mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, olives, and feta cheese. You can also use it as a marinade for grilled chicken or prawns to top your salad.  This is exactly how I used my first few tablespoons of sauce yesterday as I made a delicious lemon basil pesto prawn (shrimp) and quinoa salad (recipe to follow soon!)

Grilled Meats and Seafood

Use pesto sauce as a marinade or topping for grilled meats such as chicken, steak, or pork chops. It also pairs well with grilled seafood like prawns, salmon, or halibut.

Pizza

Spread pesto sauce onto pizza dough as an alternative to traditional tomato sauce. Top with mozzarella cheese, cherry tomatoes, grilled chicken, artichoke hearts, and olives for a flavorful homemade pizza.

Vegetables

Roast or grill vegetables such as courgettes (zucchini), aubergine (eggplant), bell peppers, and mushrooms, then toss them with pesto sauce for a tasty side dish or vegetarian main course.

Stir-Fries and Stir-Fried Noodles

Add pesto sauce to stir-fried vegetables and tofu or prawns for a quick and flavourful Asian-inspired dish. You can also toss cooked noodles with pesto sauce and your favourite stir-fry ingredients for a simple and satisfying meal.

Dips and Spreads

Mix pesto sauce with cream cheese, Greek yoghurt, or sour cream to make a flavorful dip or spread for crackers, breadsticks, or crudité.

Quiches and Frittatas

Add pesto sauce to quiche or frittata batter for a burst of flavour. Combine with ingredients such as spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and feta cheese for a delicious brunch or dinner option.

Baked Goods

Use pesto sauce as a filling for savoury pastries, such as puff pastry pinwheels or stuffed bread rolls. It adds a savoury twist to traditional baked goods.

So, What Will You Be Making?

So, now that you’ve got a few ideas on what you can make with this delicious lemon basil pesto, get in touch with us and share your delicious creations with us on our social media platforms below.

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