Parsley Pine Nut Pesto

By Lilian Dikmans

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This easy Parsley Pine Nut Pesto is incredibly versatile. Serve it as a dip, as a condiment with meats or roasted vegetables, or stir it through pasta as a sauce.

It only takes a few minutes to make. Just blend the ingredients and serve. You can blend up the pesto in a food processor or use an immersion blender, also known as a stick mixer or hand blender.

The immersion bender is one of my new favourite tools. It’s a lot easier to wash up than a food processor and is perfect for making dips and sauces. You can also use it to blend up soups, like my Cauliflower & Sweet Potato Soup.

Making Parsley Pine Nut Pesto with an immersion blender
Making the pesto with an immersion blender

Ingredients for Parsley Pine Nut Pesto

Flat leaf parsley: I like to use flat leaf parsley, also known as Italian parsley, in this recipe. Curly parsley is grittier in texture so I don’t think it would blend quite as well. However, I haven’t tested the recipe with curly parsley so would love to hear if you try it.

Pine nuts: Many pesto recipes ask you to toast your pine nuts, but I prefer to use them raw. I love the creaminess they give to the pesto when they are raw. But you can certainly toast the nuts before adding them to the mixture if you prefer. If you don’t have any pine nuts, you could try another creamy nut such as cashew nuts or macadamia nuts instead.

Ingredients for Parsley Pine Nut Pesto
Flat leaf parsley, sea salt, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts and cheese

Parmesan or extra sharp cheddar cheese: Parmesan is the traditional cheese used in pesto. I recommend buying Parmesan in block form, rather than pre-grated, as pre-grated is usually lower in quality and can sometimes taste odd. I’ve also made this pesto with extra sharp cheddar cheese and it was delicious. Any sharp cheddar should work well.

Extra virgin olive oil: Robust, peppery olive oils work really well in this recipe. The better quality the oil, the nicer the pesto will taste.

Parsley Pine Nut Pesto close up
Serve the pesto as a dip, or stir it through pasta

Garlic: A touch of minced garlic really lifts the pesto. I use 1/2 clove, but you could start with 1/4 clove and add more if you like. If you’re worried about the lingering effect of raw garlic, you can leave it out. But I think it’s worth it.

Fine sea salt: You may want to adjust the amount of salt depending on how salty your cheese is. You can start conservatively with just a pinch of salt, taste the pesto, then add more salt if needed.

Serves
About 1 cup

Prep time
10 mins

Cook time
0 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley (to give 1 1/2 cups packed leaves)
  • 1/4 cup (40g) pine nuts
  • 3/4 cup (60g) grated Parmesan or extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup (60ml/54g) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 – 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Method

  • 1
    Wash the parsley and pick the leaves off the stems. Place the leaves, pine nuts, grated cheese, olive oil, minced garlic and salt in an immersion blender cup or small food processor.
  • 2
    Blend until you get a smooth paste. You may need to wipe down the sides as you go until everything is well combined. Taste, and add more garlic or salt if desired.
  • 3
    Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Notes

The pesto will firm up slightly in the fridge and the oil may separate. Just give it a stir before serving.

If you would like to thin out the pesto, you can add some more olive oil or water.

When using the pesto as a pasta sauce, reserve some of the pasta cooking water and use that to thin the sauce to your desired consistency as you stir it through the pasta. The pasta cooking water is starchy so it helps the sauce to emulsify.

Nutrition

Serving size: 2 tablespoons
Energy: 720kJ (172Cal)
Protein: 3.4g
Total Fat: 17.6g
Saturated Fat: 3.8g
Total Carbohydrate: 1.6g
Sugars: 0.3g
Dietary Fibre: 0.6g
Sodium:147mg
Potassium: 96mg

Nutrition information is an estimate only. It may vary depending on the brand of ingredients used.

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