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Watercress Pesto

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Watercress pesto is 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. 

homemade watercress pesto in a rustic wooden bowl - watercress strewn on the table next to it

Watercress Pesto Ingredients

  • 50g flaked almonds – you could use pine nuts if you prefer
  • 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 – this adds a lovely freshness to the pesto
  • pinch of sea salt

How to make watercress pesto 

homemade watercress pesto in a rustic wooden bowl - watercress strewn on the table next to it

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. 

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?

homemade watercress pesto in a rustic wooden bowl - watercress strewn on the table next to it

You can use your freshly made pesto in lots of different ways – try… 

  • Stirring through freshly cooked spaghetti with green beans and boiled potatoes for an easy midweek dinner.
  • Drizzling over mozzarella or fresh tomatoes on a garlicky bruschetta
  • Spooned over grilled chicken or fish, serve with roasted potatoes and vegetables.
  • Spoonful added to a fresh tomato soup tastes amazing! 
white paper with pizza puff tarts on top

Love to eat Italian food? Try out more of our easy Italian recipes here

More watercress recipes to try…

homemade watercress pesto in a rustic wooden bowl - watercress strewn on the table next to it

Get loads more easy dinner recipes here

  • Strawberry and Feta Salad – the perfect summer salad, a tumble of watercress with juicy strawberries and tangy feta cheese. Delicious.
Yield: Serves 4 with pasta

Watercress Pesto

homemade watercress pesto in a rustic wooden bowl - watercress strewn on the table next to it

Super fresh and tasty Italian pesto with watercress

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 50g flaked almonds 
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 tbs olive oil 
  • 100g watercress - roughly chopped 
  • 50g grated Parmesan cheese
  • Juice of a small lemon 
  • Pinch sea salt flakes 

Instructions

  1. Blitz the almonds, olive oil and garlic until smooth
  2. Add in the watercress and lemon juice and blitz until smooth.
  3. Tip the pesto mixture into a bowl and slowly stir in the grated Parmesan cheese adding more olive oil to loosen if needed.
  4. Season to taste with sea salt.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 223Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 332mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 7g

Nutritional content will vary depending on the exact ingredients you use and how careful you are with measuring - this nutritional information is given as a general guide only and may not be accurate - you should always calculate your own nutritional information especially if you have specific dietary requirements.

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homemade watercress pesto in a rustic wooden bowl - watercress strewn on the table next to it. Text overlay "delicious watercress pesto"

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Get loads more delicious easy pasta dishes here

Weekly Meal Plan - Monday - pasta, pesto and green beans, Tuesday - hot dogs, wedges and salad, Wednesday - Chinese pork noodles, Thursday - steak fajitas, Friday - Peanut chicken curry, Saturday - smoky chicken with vegetable quinoa, Sunday - roast chicken dinner
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