Simple Healthy Cooking – Pesto

There are some really easy and delicious recipes that I have been making recently, so I have decided to do some posts on cooking featuring some quick and easy dishes and other bits and bobs. This week I am going to give Pesto a run over as its something I love and its ridiculously easy to make plus very versatile and healthy packed with Fiberand Omega-3′s…..

What You Need?

So for fresh Pesto the “Zen to Fitness” way you will need the following ingredients:

– A big bunch of fresh Basil

– Large Handful of a strong flavorful cheese (Parmesan is my favorite)

– Some Pine Nuts (tastes better if you pre-toast them)

– A few Walnuts or Hazelnuts

– 2-3 Cloves of Garlic

– a Sprig of Rosmary

– Generous serving of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

– Sea Salt and Pepper

Basically grab all of these and throw them in a blender. Obviously use more of the same ingredients if you want to make a bigger batch which you can use to store for future use (check out the ice cube trick in the video below).

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqz5ocA7hBg&feature=fvw

Pesto is amazingly tasty and so simple to make plus if you make it yourself you will avoid all the nasties in the off the shelf versions. Next time your in a supermarket try to find a Pesto with less than 10 ingredients and that doesn’t use vegetable oils. You’ll be in for a surprise!

How to Use it?

Obviously Pesto is normally associated with use on pasta. If your a ZTF regular you will probably know I am not too keen on the stuff and sway towards a more Paleo/Primal way of eating. Nevertheless I do indulge in the occasional pasta but made in a more healthy manner which I will talk about in a bit. Otherwise there are a variety of uses for the stuff….

Healthy Pesto Pasta

This is something I came up with a while ago and its an amazing way to eat pasta without consuming excess carbs. Basically start by boiling some good old pasta or spaghetti and mix in a generous serving of Pesto. While thats cooking prepare a large bowl and stick in some fresh spinach and shreds of zucchini (use a vegetable peeler) now grab your pesto pasta and throw it on top give the whole lot a thorough mix and top with some parmesan and sun-dried tomatoes and you have a half veg pasta dish which not only tastes delicious but keeps you fuller longer and drastically decreases the GI of the meal.

Pesto Meatloaf

This is an awesome recipe that makes meatloaf more tasty. You will need:

  • Some (400-600g) Organic Minced Beef/Veal
  • 2-3 Tbsp’s of your fresh pesto
  • 1 Large Grated Zucchini
  • 1 Large Egg
  • Salt and Pepper

Its that simple, stick it all together (give a good mix) and place in a loaf shaped baking tray and put in the oven at a moderate heat for about 40 minutes. I guarantee you will have the best tasting meatloaf going. Plus its great to keep leftovers in the fridge and eat cold.

Other Uses

Pesto is also great use as a side with some steak or with fish or chicken. Just spread it over your choice of meat and enjoy. You can also mix it through some steamed vegetables like broccoli or chopped carrots to add some more flavor to your side of veg.

So give it a try this weekend and make a big batch of fresh pesto which will serve you well throughout the week!

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