Pesto! For a vegan, vegetarian or meat eater.


Ingredients for the pesto

We love a pesto and brown rice pasta night in our house and this pesto recipe will take you as long as the pasta takes to cook. About 10 minutes, yes that’s right a 10 minute dinner and there is no pulling it out of a packet. It is also packed full of goodness that will help your body absorb the vital nutrients it needs to survive.

Firstly the pesto contains pine nuts. I use pine nuts because I find they grind up nicely in the pesto and my son, who is nearly three, is not likely to choke on any large piece that have not been ground up completely. However, you could use walnuts or cashew nuts then please feel free to give it a try.

Pine nuts contain many of the same nutrients as other nuts, including healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. They are great appetite suppressors because they contain a good source of polyunsaturated fats known as pinolenic acid. The acid simulates a hormone which sends signals to your brain to tell your brain that you are full. They basically help to slow down the rate at which your stomach empties.

They are a nutrition powerhouse. Pine nuts are a great source of protein, excellent source of vitamin K and E and niacin as well. They are high in minerals including magnesium and potassium. Pine nuts are also high in antioxidants which help to protect your cells from radical damage. They are also high in monounsaturated fats the same heart healthy fats that make nuts and olive oil beneficial.

Real extra virgin olive oil is 100% natural and very high in antioxidants. Olive oil is very high in monounsaturated fats and contains a modest amount of vitamin E and K. True extra virgin olive oil is loaded with antioxidants, some of which have powerful health benefits. Olive oil contains oleic acid and oleocanthal nutrients that can fight inflammation. It maybe the main reason for olive oils health benefits.

Olive oil maybe one of the healthiest foods you can eat for heart health. It lowers blood pressure, protects LDL particles from oxidation, reduces inflammation and may help prevent unwanted blood clotting. It is a super healthy oil and it could be very important for people with heart disease or those at risk of getting it in the future. Olive oil is definitely a superfood. It is extrememly important to get the right stuff. That is extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic, that hasn’t been diluted with cheaper oils.

The recipe for pesto contains two important foods that can help to keep the body healthy. It also has more ingredients that will help you as part of a balanced diet. Eating well, I now believe, can save us from so many illness and diseases. If we eat well we will save ourselves from the potential of many health problems. Enjoying a great dinner is a good start to getting on the road to health and happiness.

Serves 4

Equipment needed

  • Baking tray
  • Food processor
  • Scales
  • Measuring jug
  • Sharp knife
  • Zester
  • Juicer or fork
  • Tablespoon
  • Frying pan

Ingredients for the vegans

  • Pine nuts x 100g
  • Olive oil x 80mls
  • Basil x 1 large handful
  • Lemon x 1 juice and zest
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Nutritional yeast x 4 tbsp

Ingredients for the vegetarians

  • Pine nuts x 100g
  • Olive oil x 80mls
  • Basil x 1 large handful
  • Lemon x 1 juice and zest
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese or a strong cheddar x 60g

Ingredients for the meat eaters

  • Pine nuts x 100g
  • Olive oil x 80mls plus extra for frying the chicken
  • Basil x 1 large handful
  • Lemon x 1 juice and zest
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese or a strong cheddar x 60g
  • Chicken breast diced x 500g


  • Start by weighing and measuring all your ingredients.


    Preparing the pesto

  • Spread the pine nuts onto a baking tray and toast until golden brown, around 5 minutes.
  • Place the pine nuts, olive oil, basil, lemon juice and zest and salt and pepper to taste into the food processor and blend until smooth.

For the vegan

  • Add the nutritional yeast and blend again.

For the vegetarian

  • Add the parmesan and blend again.

For the meat lover

  • Add the parmesan or cheddar and blend again.
  • Fry off the chicken in a little extra of the olive oil until cooked.
  • Remove the pesto from the food processor into a bowl and add the cooked chicken.

Finally for all three

  • Cook the pasta, pour the pesto into a bowl if not already done so for the meat eater, add the pasta and mix until the pasta is covered in the pesto.
  • Serve with a salad or a bowl of steamed greens.

Pesto ready!

A great dish which is packed full of goodness that the whole family can share it. The pesto can also be made in advance of any meal plans. You can keep a jar of it in your fridge for up to a week. So you could make it on a Sunday and it could be ready for a quick meal during the week. I used old jars to store my pesto in. It is a great way to reuse jars and not waste money on all those plastic boxes. The pesto can also be put on top of a pizza or spread over a piece of fish and topped with cheese. Whatever way you decided to try this recipe then please as always enjoy.