Pesto is Not Just Something to Do With Basil

Basil pesto is a versatile option for a range of recipes. But it is worthwhile remembering that you can make pesto with a range of other ingredients.

Today, for example, I made a ‘weed’ pesto, with nettles, sorrel, and a few other leafy greens from the forest garden, blended with with some seeds, some olive oil and some garlic. (We’re still working through garlic I stored last year.) Pesto is a great ‘gateway’ recipe, which allows you to feed foraged or more unusual greens without anyone thinking them a little outlandish.

We had our pesto today with some potato and carrot cakes, and a big mixed leafy salad with several types of lettuce, spinach, baby leaf kale, pak choi etc… But I find pesto can be a very useful way to prepare a huge range of herbs and mixed greens for a huge range of recipes.

For example, pesto can be used in a sauce for pasta or a pizza, folded into bread, spread in a sandwich, through a salad, or over a bake… the options abound. I tend to make quite a lot of pesto, with different ingredients, both cultivated and foraged, over the course of the year.

As I have mentioned before, we need to think carefully about where our food comes from and where it is grown. But we also need to think about what we eat – and broaden our horizons. The ingredients for a great meal might not be further away than your lawn, or the corners of your garden. And once you identity and seek out ‘wild food’ sources, pesto can be a good way to use them.

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