I don’t know how many times I say that a recipe drops into my inbox when I have just the right ingredients in my fridge/cupboard needing to be used up. That’s what happened recently when I had a huge basil plant on my windowsill and I had only used a few leaves. In the summer, I grow basil in hanging baskets on my patio – that way I always have a good fresh supply and the slugs can’t get to it.
I also love courgette noodles – or zoodles as some people call them. They are delicious raw or very slightly sautéed in a little coconut or olive oil. I often mix them with carrots and/or sweet potato for a change.
Basil and Walnut Pesto with courgette noodles come together to make a delicious light lunch, dinner or supper.
½ lemon (1 teaspoon zest and 15 – 30ml lemon juice)
2 garlic cloves
80g fresh basil
60ml extra virgin olive oil
30g walnut pieces
¼ teaspoon Asafoetida (the one ingredient I didn’t have so I left it out)
Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 – 2 ½ tablespoons Nutritional Yeast flakes
1 – 2 courgettes or a mix of carrot, courgette & sweet potato
Wash the lemon and grate 1 teaspoon (or more if preferred, then juice half of it).
Peel the garlic. Wash the basil and remove the leaves from the stem.
Place the lemon zest and 1 tablespoon of juice into a food processor. With the food processor running, drop the garlic down the pouring shoot. Blend until it’s blitzed.
Add 4 tablespoons of oil, 30g walnuts and the asafoetida (if using). Season the mixture with salt and black pepper to taste. Blend until the nuts are smoothish and creamy. Use a spatula to scrape the mixture off the sides and the lid, back down into the base. Add 2 – 2 ½ tablespoons nutritional yeast (depending on your preference). Mix until combined.
The mixture will not be completely smooth, but this is ok.
Add the basil and blend until completely processed. Taste and season again if necessary.
Add more lemon juice, yeast etc if preferred. If a slightly thinner consistency is preferred, add a little water – 1 tablespoon at a time until your desired consistency is achieved.
Spiralize the courgettes. Heat a little oil in a large pan and quickly sauté the noodles, tossing all the time. Don’t overcook as they will go soggy. Toss with the pesto and serve immediately. Alternatively, toss the pesto with raw courgettes – just as nice.
Any leftover pesto can be stored in the fridge, or frozen in small portions.
This recipe can be adapted with your favourite nuts or seeds, herbs or any other type of ingredient.
The nutritional yeast has a lovely nutty and ‘cheesy’ element that helps give your plant-based pesto a more true and authentic taste.
Another great recipe idea from Alex and Lynn on their Eat2Health blog.
NB: All the photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared myself.