You may think that pesto requires Parmesan in order to be delicious, but I am here to tell you that cheese is not the crucial element in this most famous of Italian sauces… contrary to popular belief. Toasting the nuts will maximise their flavour and texture, and the parsley is a nice twist on the usual basil without being overpowering. Pesto is no longer off limits to vegans and, best of all, it can be whipped up in matter of minutes.
- Heat a small, non-stick, heavy-based frying pan and lightly toast the pistachios over a medium heat for several minutes, shaking the pan frequently. Let them cool a little before transferring them to a food processor. Repeat to toast the walnuts and set aside.
- Blitz the pistachios into fine crumbs before adding the toasted walnuts and blending for a few seconds more. Add the parsley, lemon juice, garlic, nutmeg, half the olive oil and the sea salt and blitz thoroughly until a thick paste has formed.
- Scrape down the sides of the blender, season to taste with black pepper and extra salt if desired, add the remaining oil and blitz again until you achieve a coarse, pesto-like sauce. This will keep, refrigerated, for up to 1 week.
Extract from Keep it Vegan by Aine Carlin published by Kyle Books, priced £14.99.
Photography by Ali Allen.