Posted by: Joan Spiller | November 30, 2014

Pesto Experiments – Recipe

Most of you know that I try to be creative when it comes to cooking and I love to “use stuff up” .. which explains why I was out in the garden some weeks ago, pondering how I could make use of such an abundant (and free!) assortment of greenery ..

Et voila: Pesto was the answer!


I dunno about you, but I tend to think of pesto as being basil, parmesan, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts and seasonings..
And I ADORE it..

However, I KNOW there’s more to it than this and so I set to experimenting with assorted flavours, using some rocket, mint, coriander, basil, thyme, mint basil, parsley, walnut oil.. and other goodies that I had on hand.

And it was a GOOD thing, as Martha Stewart would say!!

However in this instance it isn’t Martha we are grateful to, it is Kaye .. a friend of mine .. who made these amazing haloumi tarts one time .. with a parsley walnut pesto she’d made ..

So yeah, inspired I was.. Tarts there were.
NO wait, pesto there was!

See, (keep up, please) I was also around this time thinking about how to make dairy free treats for a friend.

And another friend of mine had said she’d eaten pesto made with herbs & peas, and raved about how good it was (thank you, Bernadette!) .. both of which lead me to this recipe and OMIGOSH am I thrilled!

First I must apologise as this will be one of those annoyingly vague recipes but that’s because you can pretty much do anything you want (so it’s good, really) ..

Basically, you chuck 3 (loosely packed) cups of washed green leaves (basil, mint, parsley – no stalks) into a blender, with raw garlic, juice + lemon zest, some (1/2 c or so) thawed peas and olive oil. Season to taste and you’re done..

The funnest part of this is that you have to keep tasting, adding a bit more pepper, salt, lemon, garlic, oil etc .. ’til you’re happy with the taste and texture – but there it is – a beautiful green, tasty (healthy, even!) dip, sauce or whatever.

And it’s dairy free, gluten free and delicious!

I will post more on this as I experiment with the different herbs but the basic recipe is what’s above .. My all time fave is an equal blend of mint, basil, mint basil (not a typo!) and parsley as my greenery – not forgetting the thawed peas.. all of which is then seasoned with garlic, lemon, oil and salt/pepper.

Please let me know if you find an amazing blend, I’d love to hear about it!



  1. Off topic – Hope you enjoyed having my son Asa with you for a short while! He raved about your cooking!


    • I most certainly did! While here he achieved so much, I wish he was able to stay longer, but events conspired against us. He was a total pleasure to host.


      • He is a hard worker and a lovely human being, if I do say so myself. Thanks for hosting him. He is having a terrific time in NZ so far!

        Liked by 1 person

      • You are entitled to say that, he truly was fantastic! I wish he could have stayed longer. Maybe I can entice him back when he heads South! NZ will be a fun adventure for him, I think .. and the weather has improved too so he won’t be quite so much fighting the Spring Winds we get here!


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