Parsley and pumpkin seed pesto
This pesto sauce makes a tasty change from the traditional basil and pine nut version, and it’s much cheaper to make — have you seen the price of pine nuts lately!
We make it with fresh flat-leaf parsley and toasted pumpkin seeds, plus Parmesan, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and a touch of lemon juice. The parsley and lemon create a really fresh-tasting pesto which is complemented by the delicious nutty flavor of the toasted pumpkin seeds.
You can toss this pesto with pasta, of course, but it’s also really yummy spread on bruschetta and in Italian-style sandwiches, stirred into soups (such as Minestrone), and it can even be used as a pizza sauce. We’ve also mixed this pesto with leftover rice and used it to stuff vegetables like tomatoes and peppers before baking.
In addition to being tasty, thrifty and versatile, this pesto is also really good for you. Parsley contains immune-boosting antioxidants, as well as disease-fighting vitamins and minerals; pumpkins seeds are packed with protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids; olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated fats; and garlic protects against cancers and heart disease. As an added bonus, you can enjoy this pesto without fear of garlic breath because the parsley will help counteract the pungent flavor of raw garlic and freshen your breath at the same time.
⅓ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
⅓ cup pumpkin seeds — lightly toasted
1 garlic clove — roughly chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
Variation: Add 1 chopped small red chili or ½ teaspoon of dried red chili flakes for a bit of heat.