Pesto hack #1: add green peas to your pesto ingredients! This has numerous benefits:
- Adds extra nutrients (peas are high in micronutrients like folate, a source of protein and fiber)
- Adds a delicious sweetness
- Stretches your pesto, making a bigger batch for you to enjoy
- Makes it more budget friendly (as frozen peas are cheap)
- Adds moisture, so that no oil (or less oil) is required. You are getting plenty healthy fats from the nuts already.
- Decreases the calories and fat per serving, so that you can enjoy a bigger portion
A standard pesto provides around 330 kcal per 1/4 cup, while the recipe below clocks in only 130 kcal per 1/4 cup serving. You can enjoy a generous portion of this pesto.
Pesto hack #2: Add miso for a delicious Umami flavour. This take the place of the Parmesan cheese that is usually added. If you are not vegan, or you just don’t have miso, you can certainly add grated Parmesan cheese instead. Nutritional yeast or green curry paste work well too.
Pesto hack #3: Blend some plain yoghurt (or tofu) in with your pesto for a creamier version (delicious on salads, roast veg, pasta, etc.). This is not included in the recipe below, but its a great way to stretch your pesto even further!
Here is the recipe for the pesto with green peas & miso:
Pesto with green peas & miso (low-fat, vegan)
- 1.5 cups frozen peas thawed
- 1/2 clove garlic peeled
- 3 handfuls of fresh herbs e.g. coriander, basil, rocket
- 1/2 cup almonds or cashews or any nuts of choice, even toasted sunflower seeds work
- 2 tbsp lemon juice or to taste
- 1.5 tbsp miso see notes on substitutions
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Pulse all ingredients in a blender to a nice chunky pesto-like consistency. If your blender needs more liquid to turn, add a tablespoon of liquid (e.g. water / yoghurt / olive oil / another splash of lemon juice).
- Taste, then season to perfection.