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Pesto: King of Condiments.



Bringing simple dishes to life….

Pesto: King of Condiments!

Originally from Italy, (from the word meaning to pound, to crush,) pesto traditionally uses a combination of basil, garlic, hard cheese, pine-nuts, lemon juice & olive oil.

What a condiment!  So versatile!

In current times, we use fresh herbs to suit availability, or taste preference.  Same goes with nuts. Cashews, walnuts, almonds & macadamias all have a similar texture to pine-nuts & are generally much cheaper at the moment.  Mint, parsley, coriander & even rocket can be used, depending on the desired result.

Often, at Food That Sings, we use a mix of basil & parsley, pistachios & pine-nuts, about half/half. (Pretty fond of macs these days, good price comparatively.)

And we always leave a bit of definition between ingredients,  we don’t want a slushy paste.basil1

Here is our all-time, absolutely fabulous basic pesto recipe….

  • 1 bunch basil
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • ½ cup toasted pistachios
  • ½ cup toasted pine-nuts (or macs)
  • 1 generous tspn.  garlic (or 2 big cloves)
  • ¾ cup grated parmesan
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • About ¾ cup olive oil (or oil of choice)

Put everything (except oil,) in processor, nuts on top to hold it all down, & go!  Pour oil in as it whirls around,  should  take less than a minute.

Once you have done this a couple of times, you will have mastered the taste & consistency to your liking. Then the applications are endless, limited only by your imagination.


Want some suggestions to bring simple dishes to life?

  •  Stir through any kind of pasta, ravioli, gnocchi, add chicken or grilled veges if you choose
  • Use rocket pesto with lamb, add to dressings or spread on fish
  • Pile on corn fritters with avocado, red onion & tomato salsa
  • Layer red pepper pesto with chicken & pasta in lasagne, or add to soups & gravy for extra depth
  • Serve grilled eggplant pesto with mushrooms & goats cheese
  • Spread on your favourite sandwich, bruschetta or crostini
  • Fold coriander pesto through stirfrys, currys, omelettes, risotto, frittata

See where you can go!

What a tub of fun & magic to have in your fridge!  Let us know what you did & what you loved….

Now here are a few tips….

Never cook pesto, just fold it in at the end, because basil gets bitter when heated.

It freezes well.  We freeze it in take-away containers if we’ve been given masses of fresh herbs.  And for pesto for one, just freeze in ice cube trays, then remove & store.  (We love take-away containers ‘cause you can see through them, although they will always be labelled, & they stack brilliantly.)

Lightly toast pine-nuts to give a creaminess rather than a nuttiness.

Purple basil looks good if you can get it, or you can use Thai basil for a lemony taste without the twang. Try it with & without a little lemon twang to find your preference.

And if you want to make a nut-free version, use sunflower seeds instead!!! Works brilliantly!

Another must-have sauce in our up-coming book “Seven Saucy Secrets”….pesto

Good luck! Have fun! And experiment…..


  1. How I love pesto. I did a watercress and mint pesto yesterday on the blog. I have a list as long as my arm of things I need to make when I move. A jar of pesto is one of them. Love your recipe think I’ll try it tomorrow.

  2. Gorgeous girl :)) I don’t get notified when you put a new post up…how do I make this happen? I want to try your fabulous recipes too!!
    love love Roni xx

  3. LOVE your post! Its beautiful, really informative and has a gorgeous recipe. Really impressed
    Rebecca X

    • Awww, thanks Rebecca, that’s is especially lovely of you! You do awesome work too & I love what you give to us :)) Thankyou!! Love Roni xx

  4. If only I could find a suitable pesto that is Weight Watchers friendly…your post made me so hungry. I posted this on my pinterest favorite recipes board. Fantastic advice!

    • Thanks also to you Alana! I wonder if just putting in less oil would help with it being Weight Watchers friendly? :)) You can omit the parmesan altogether & use seeds for crunch Instead of nuts….maybe? cheers Roni xx

  5. Is there anything more versatile or tasty? I can make a batch and it’s great with pasta or topped on appetisers or used as a dip. I’ve never tried pistachios in my pesto but I’m going to!

  6. lol Maureen :)) These days you can actually use a variety of nuts, & herbs for that matter! We use a combination as I find basil too strong. And like the post suggests, I’ve just discovered using sunflower seeds instead of nuts for a nut-free version! Awesome stuff…xx

  7. oh love your pictures and info on basil. well done x Annie Clark

    • Oh Thanks Annie…it’s such a pretty herb isn’t it? And that scent….:)) One of life’s subtle little gifts…xx

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