Welcome to the 1st of my monthly seasonal eating recipes where I am aim to bring you a super easy, highly nutritious and versatile recipe. I absolutely love making my own pesto as it takes minutes to whizz up and delivers incredible flavours to many different types of dishes. Plus, you never have to make the same version twice. Just blitz your chosen vege with some nuts, sundried tomatoes, oil, garlic, herbs and hey pesto! In this recipe, the seasonal vege in question is asparagus which has a really unique flavour thanks to some earthy undertones. You might be surprised to hear that it ranks in the top 20 foods in terms of nutrient density score thanks to the fact it is filled to the brim with vitamins including A, C, E and K as well as fibre and folate. I have served the pesto on a bed of courgetti, another versatile vegetable that can take the place of traditional carbs such as pasta for a super healthy twist. To make your courgetti you can use a spiralizer, which can be bought relatively cheaply online, or alternatively a julienne peeler also works well if you don’t have this bit of kit.
For the pesto:
- 1/3 cup cashew nuts
- 1/3 cup walnuts
- 6-7 jar sundried tomatoes (about half a jar)
- 1 large or 2 small garlic clove (depending on your taste)
- Half bunch of asparagus
- nutritional yeast
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Good squeeze of lemon
- Good handful of basil
- Salt & pepper to taste
For the courgetti:
- 2 courgettes, spiralised or julienned
- 2/3 cup buckwheat
- Half pack of sugar snap peas
- Handful torn mint leaves
- Handful torn basil leaves
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil
- Squeeze of lemon
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Add the asparagus and cook until fully tender but not mushy, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well and let the asparagus cool slightly. Retain the cooking liquid. (NB. See ‘getting ahead’ tips and cook some extra asparagus for lunch tomorrow).
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the buckwheat for 10-15mins, ensure it still retains some bite. Drain and put to one side.
- Transfer 2/3 of the asparagus to a food processor and add all the remaining ingredients. Process the mixture and add a bit of the cooking liquid to moisten if necessary. Add salt & pepper to taste.
- In a large frying pan, heat the coconut oil and add a squeeze of lime. Stir your courgetti and sugar snaps for 2 mins until slightly softened.
- Place your courgetti, sugar snap peas & buckwheat into a large mixing bowl. Chop & add the remainder of the asparagus. Add in the pesto and a drizzle of olive oil if needed and toss to coat the courgetti. You may not need all your pesto and can save some of this in the fridge for the next 3 days if so.
- Stir in the torn basil leaves, mint leaves and toasted pumpkin seeds and season as required.