Deliciously simple and perfect for busy weeknights our fresh Italian pesto is super tasty stirred through freshly cooked pasta for an easy family dinner
How to make fresh pesto
Traditionally fresh pesto is made by blending up a mixture of fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and seasoned with salt and pepper.
How to make watercress pesto
Our super delicious watercress pesto is a tasty variation on the traditional recipe – the watercress gives it a lovely peppery tang that works well with the zingy lemon juice for a light pasta dish. We switch the pine nuts for almonds because they just give a softer flavour and don’t overpower the watercress.
To make the watercress pesto simply blitz the garlic, flaked almonds and olive oil in a blender – then add in the roughly chopped watercress and lemon juice and blitz until smooth. Tip the watercress pesto into a bowl and slowly blend in the grated Parmesan cheese – season with salt to taste and add a little more olive oil if needed, you won’t need to add pepper the watercress is peppery enough.
Super fresh and tasty Italian pesto with watercress
- 50g flaked almonds
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 100g watercress - roughly chopped
- 50g grated Parmesan cheese (if doing vegetarian/vegan version use the appropriate free from cheese)
- juice of a small lemon
- pinch of sea salt
- Blitz the almonds, olive oil and garlic until smooth.
- Add in the watercress and lemon juice and blitz until smooth.
- Tip the pesto mixture into a bowl and slowly stir in the grated Parmesan cheese adding more olive oil to loosen if needed.
- Season to taste with sea salt.
What cheese do you use to make pesto?
Okay – I like pesto to be made with Parmesan but you can use Pecorino or if you want to make a vegetarian or vegan pesto swap the cheese for the appropriate free from Italian style cheese.
What nuts do you use to make pesto?
You can make pesto with pine nuts for the traditional pesto or try walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds or even pistachios.
What do I put pesto on?
You can use your freshly made pesto in lots of different ways – try…
- Stirring through freshly cooked spaghetti with green beans
- Drizzling over mozzarella or fresh tomatoes on a bruschetta
- Spooned over grilled chicken or fish
- Spoonful added to a fresh tomato soup tastes amazing!
- Use to make pesto pizza tarts
More watercress recipes to try…
- Asparagus and Watercress Bruschetta
- Strawberry and Feta Salad
- Watercress and Chicory Salad with Fiery Dressing
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