Pesto by Artur Rutkowski

Hey Pesto!

Magically transform your vegetable trimmings!

If you’ve made your own pesto before, you’ve almost certainly used basil but there are so many other tasty and waste-free options! Almost any leafy green will do… even parts you might normally throw away.

Here are just a few to try:

  • Carrot greens
  • Herb stems
  • Kale, collard & chard stems
  • Kohlrabi greens
  • Radish tops
  • Beetroot greens
  • Broccoli & cauliflower stems


Basic Pesto

  • ½ a clove garlic
  • 1 bunch of your chosen greens
  • 1 handful of pine nuts
  • 1 large handful of grated Parmesan cheese
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

With a food processor:

  1. Wash, prepare and chop or tear your greens. Soften tough stems by steaming or by boiling in salted water then pressed between paper towels to remove excess fluid. Leaves can be tossed with olive oil and salt and lightly roasted to add flavour.
  2. Add greens, garlic, pine nuts and parmesan cheese to your food processor and blend.
  3. Add the oil slowly until the mixture begins to emulsify. The amount you’ll need will depend on your other ingredients, so watch carefully to ensure you don’t add too much.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week or divide into portions and freeze.

With a pestle & mortar:

  1. Start with peeled garlic and a pinch of salt.

  2. Add your greens (prepared as above) and pound into a paste.

  3. Pound in the pine nuts.

  4. Add half of the parmesan and combine well.

  5. Drizzle in the oil a little at a time so the mixture binds but isn’t too liquid. You want it to ooze, rather than run.

  6. Add the rest of the cheese and the salt and pepper to taste.

  7. Serve or store as above.

Bonus Food Waste Tips:

  • Use up leftover lemon by  adding a little lemon juice when seasoning for a citrusy tang.
  • Gently toast slices of stale baguette and top with pesto for cute appetisers.
  • Mix pesto with roasted root vegetables and tomatoes for a hearty main.
  • Add pesto directly into bread dough before baking.
  • Even young dandelion leaves can be used to make pesto! Just make sure you’re picking them in an area away from traffic pollution or where pesticides might be used (your own garden is probably safest) and wash them well. Boil them in 2 changes of water before using to remove bitterness.
  • Over-ripe avocado is a great addition to your pesto recipe.

Photo by Artur Rutkowski on Unsplash

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