This week I'm excited to share with you my all time favourite Pesto recipe - super simple yet totally delicious. Traditionally Pesto's are made with pinenuts, parmesan, olive oil, and not that many greens. In contrast, this recipe blends creamy raw cashews, delicious nutty sacha inchi oil (or chia seed oil), skips the dairy, and packs a mean punch in terms of greenery. It's a beautiful blend of flavours, and extremely forgiving in terms of quantities. Add a few too many cashews or too much oil? It will still taste amazing.
Cashews are one of my favourite nuts, and are a plant-based lovers dream. Once soaked and blended they turn into all sorts of creamy deliciousness. If you haven't already, definitely try my Creamy Cashew Aioli and Coconut Cashew Chia Cream recipes - they've become weekly pantry staples in our house. Pesto is normally made with pinenuts which are delicious, but four times the price of cashews and also near impossible to source organically. Raw cashews are therefore my favourite pesto-making nut, and work brilliantly. If you have nut allergies, you could also swap these for Sunflower Seeds.
Sacha Inchi Oil is a delicious nutty oil sourced from South America, and is extremely high in Omega Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). Also known as Inca Inchi Oil ("Almond of the Incas"), Sacha Inchi Oil has a perfect balance of omega 3, 6 and 9 EFAs. It is one of the highest plant-based sources of Omega 3s in the world (48% Omega 3, and 84% total EFAs), making it a wonderful safe, healthy, mercury-free, sustainable and compassionate alternative to seafood and fish oil capsules - great for vegos, pregnant ladies, and just about everyone else.
Chia Seed Oil meanwhile has a milder flavour, but is even more impressive in the Omega stakes with a whopping 57% Omega 3 content. Chia seeds have been grown and eaten since as early as 3500BC by the Mayans and Aztecs in Mexico. Aztec warriors and running messengers used them as high-energy food to maintain their strength and endurance, and Chia in fact means 'strength' in Mayan.
EFAs are the healthy Omega fats that can't be produced by our bodies and therefore must be consumed (thus the term "essential"). They are known for their role in encouraging healthy skin, hair, nails, joints, and brain function; improving post-workout recovery and cardiovascular function; increasing metabolism and promoting fat-burning; and preventing heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and arthritis.
The ideal ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 EFAs recommended by the World Health Organisation is 1:3, however in our modern western diet this ratio can be as high as 1:20, which leads to a host of diseases. Thus it's a great idea to use an oil that is higher in Omega 3's to rebalance your ratios. All you have to do is drizzle a tablespoon or two on your food each day, or of course try this tasty pesto!
|per 100ml||Sacha Inchi Oil||Chia Seed Oil||Flax Seed Oil||Hemp Seed Oil||Olive Oil|
|Omega 3 (Linolenic Acid/LNA)||48%||57%||50%||17%||1%|
|Omega 6 (Linoleic Acid/LA)||35%||19%||12%||53%||9%|
|Omega 9 (Oleic Acid)||9%||9%||19%||10%||75%|
Sacha Inchi and Chia Seed Oil are my two favourite Omega oils from a taste perspective and both work beautifully in this recipe, although you could also use flax or hemp if you prefer. Sacha Inchi Oil though recently won a number of gold medals at the European Food Fair in France for best new culinary oil, so if you're an avid foodie you'll have to get onto this one. Try this pesto with both see which you prefer!
The final star ingredient in this recipe is Kale, which is a superfood in it's own right. Kale contains extremely high levels of iron and calcium; per calorie more than both beef and milk respectively. It's also high in Vitamin K which helps prevent cancer and Alzheimer's; Vitamin A for vision and skin; and Vitamin C for your immune system and metabolism. I personally love the classic flavour of Basil in pesto, but using a combination of both Basil and Kale means you still get that beautiful basil flavour, with all the nutritional benefits of the mighty kale.
The last great thing about this recipe is you can mix and match the ingredients so easily. Don't like basil? Try parsley, coriander or spring onions. Run out of kale? Use spinach, rocket, or even silver beet leaves instead. As for oils, my favourites are definitely Sacha Inchi and Chia Seed, but Avocado oil is also lovely and if you don't have any of those on hand then a good quality organic spray-free olive oil will also work well too.
Makes 1 1/2 cups
All of the items below can be purchased from our online store, simply click on each ingredient link to add to your shopping cart
Always use certified organic ingredients where possible
1 large handful basil
1 handful kale leaves (~2 leaves, pull them off the stalks and save the stalks for a green juice)
1/2c raw cashew nuts (soaked, rinsed & drained)
1/4c chia seed oil / sacha inchi oil
1/2 lemon (juice, flesh & zest if you like - no pith or seeds)
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp organic rock salt
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional, works just as well without)
c = 250ml cup, tbsp = 15ml tablespoon, tsp = 5ml teaspoon
This pesto will last around 3-4 days in the fridge. You can also freeze it in ice cube trays if you don't plan to use it all in one go (although I always do). This recipe also easily doubles or triples for a larger crowd.
Hope you like it - let me know what you think below or over on our Facebook page.
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