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Pesto is quick to make, versatile and delicious. Fantastic with pasta or drizzled over roast potatoes. Try serving it with tomatoes and avocado in salad or slathered on toast. It can be made in a food processor or blender, or for a chunkier pesto try making in a pestle and mortar. This recipe is a rough guide, taste as you go along and feel free to vary the quantities.

Recipe created by Nourish cook and Dietitian, Clare Gray

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 5-10 minutes


  • 20g of pine kernels
  • 1/2 or1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp of coarse sea salt
  • 4 large handfuls of basil (approximately 30g), washed and dried in a salad spinner or with kitchen roll
  • 100ml of good quality olive oil
  • 30g of parmesan, grated
  • 30g of pecorino, grated (or use parmesan as an alternative)
  • salt and black pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3.

Place the pine kernels on a baking tray an toast lightly for 5-10 minutes, until slightly golden in colour. Set a timer to avoid burning the nuts

Place the garlic, sea salt and half the basil in a food processor or blender

Add the oil and pulse until the mixture is a smooth paste

Add the remaining basil and the toasted pine kernels to the food processor and pulse, leaving larger chunks of pine kernels and basil

Add more oil if the mixture is too stiff

Place in a mixing bowl and fold in the grated parmesan and pecorino (if using).

Season to taste


If not eating immediately, pesto can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for several days.

There are lots of variations to try with pesto. Walnuts and pistachios work well as an alternative to pine kernels. Rocket or blanched kale works as a great substitute for basil. If you are avoiding cheese, you can leave it out and add a tablespoon of fresh miso, to add a more savoury richness to the recipe.

1 comment

  • I just wondered if it isn’t easier and more economical to toast the pine kernels by heating them in an empty frying pan. They have enough oil in them. You just have to keep moving them. It does not take long for them to change colour. Thanks for all your excellent work.

    Christine on

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