Meatless Monday: Homemade red and green pesto

Meatless Monday: two homemade pesto recipes

Homemade red and green pesto

Homemade red and green pesto Photo: Russell Bowes

We are always being told that we should eat less meat and more vegetables. If you are an old school carnivore like me then that doesn’t always come easy too you. I admit that I like nothing better than a nice big bit of meat for dinner but it’s not always good for us (or me) to have it and as we (all) get older it is often good to go meatless, not for every day but a day here and there of vegetarian meals and a day or two of fishy food and suddenly you’ll find you are only eating a meaty meal a couple of times a week. It sneaks up on you without even realising it.

The biggest plus point of meatless meals, like these two pesto recipes? They are really quick and easy to prepare – just right for a weeknight diner!

Pesto two ways: 

Both Hana and I like to make homemade pesto for dinner. It can be one of the fastest meals to make with both of these recipes taking under twenty minutes from start to finish, quicker than popping a ready meal in the oven. If you are someone who never seems to have time to cook, or even if you aren’t too confident in the kitchen I think these are really good starter or go-to recipes. They are fast, flavourful and packed full of veggies and goodness.

Traditionally pesto is made with basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil and not much else. These recipes both variations and so not traditional pesto recipes but I think if you give them a go you’ll love them as much as we do and they will become firm family-favourites.

Hana’s Green Pesto with watercress and almonds

Homemade Green watercress pesto Photo: Russell Bowes

Homemade Green watercress pesto Photo: Russell Bowes

This is Hana’s go-to pesto recipe and one which I love every time we have it. This recipe serves two very hungry people, or maybe three normal people. Though it’s meatless you still get a good serving of high quality protein from the nuts to keep you healthy.

Ingredients:
– 200g linguine or spaghetti
– bag of watercress
– 2-3 cloves of garlic
– 50g / handful of flaked or ground almonds
– 25g Parmesan or veggie alternative
– 1tbsp lemon juice
– olive oil 4-6 tbsp depending on how thick you like it

Watercress and almond pesto recipe

Watercress pesto Photo: Russell Bowes

Watercress pesto Photo: Russell Bowes

Pop a pan of water on the heat and when boiling add the spaghetti or linguine and boil for 9-10 minutes (or according to pack instructions).

In a food processor add the watercress, garlic and a little of the olive oil to loosen it up then whizz. When the watercress has broken down add the lemon juice, almonds, Parmesan and a little more oil and blitz till you have a smooth puree. I like mine to still be a bit chunky so I stop before it’s really smooth. You can use more or less oil to get your desired consistency. Season with a little salt and pepper.

Green Watercress Pesto Photo: Russell Bowes

Green Watercress Pesto Photo: Russell Bowes

When the pasta is ready drain it and stir through the pesto, then serve with a little green salad on the side. Perfect for a meatless Monday.

Russell’s Red Pesto:

Vegetarian Red Pesto Pasta Photo: Russell Bowes

Vegetarian Red Pesto Pasta Photo: Russell Bowes

We had eaten the watercress pesto quite a few times before I decided it was time for a change. Not a huge change as this is still pesto. This time round though you will be using sun-dried tomatoes and fresh parsley instead of almonds and watercress.

Ingredients:
– 2-3 cloves of garlic
– 25g pine nuts
– 1 jar of sun-dried tomatoes
– 1 red chilli
– handful of chopped fresh parsley
– 25g Parmesan or veggie alternative
– Olive oil
– sea salt
– 200g spaghetti or linguine

Red Pesto Recipe

Red Pesto Pasta: without the added ham it's a great vegetarian meal Photo: Russell Bowes

Red Pesto Pasta: without the added ham it’s a great vegetarian meal Photo: Russell Bowes

Pop a pan of water on to boil and prepare the pasta according to the pack instructions.

Blitz the garlic with the pine nuts and a little sea salt. Drain the sun-dried tomatoes and pulse them with the rest of the mix. Once they are broken down add the chilli, parsley, Parmesan and about 100ml of olive oil. Keep pulsing till you have your desired consistency, you can add a little more olive oil if it needs thinning out. Season with pepper if needed.

Homemade Red Pesto Photo: Russell Bowes

Homemade Red Pesto Photo: Russell Bowes

When the pasta is ready drain and toss through the pesto then serve with a small green salad.

Both these recipes are quick, easy and healthy ways to have a meat-free Monday and as they are packed full of vegetables and nuts you are getting everything you need in one hit. These are just two quick and easy pesto recipes you can make but we have made lots of variations on these.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s