Pesto with a twist

The twenty or so basil plants I sowed from seed earlier this summer are getting a bit leggy and so I tipped them out – nipping off the top two or four big leaves down to the next set of leaves on the stalk.

They were crying out to be pulverised into pesto – I do it every year and freeze it to be used over winter.

Basil doesn’t like to be cold and wet so pour water into the tray or saucer which the pot is standing in so it can draw water up into the pot

You can make pesto with vegan parmesan – Violife is quite a good brand.

But I think pesto tastes just as good, if not better, without the “cheese”.

I added some mint and lemon juice to lift the flavour.


This vegan pesto has a little mint and lemon juice to make it sparkle.

Servings: 6 people
Author: Cath
  • 100 g fresh basil leaves
  • 100 g pine nuts
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 10 g mint leaves
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. Wash your basil and mint leaves with no large pieces of stalk remaining and spin dry in a salad spinner.

  2. Add basil and mint leaves to pine nuts in a blender or food processor along with all the other ingredients; the crushed garlic, lemon juice, olive oil.

  3. Blend until fairly homogeneous.

  4. Add salt to taste.

In other news:

  • The pumpkins and winter squash have been harvested. I leave a little of the vine either side of the stalk which should be looking brown and woody. Try to keep the stalk intact on the gourd – otherwise it’ll be prone to rot.   The other way to tell if they’re ready is if they sound hollow when tapped lightly. They should last between three and six months. Here’s a good website with some nice recipes on it.

    Hungarian Blue, North Georgia Candy Roaster (the big pink banana shaped ones) and Hokkaido pumpkins
  • I used fleece to cover lettuce and oriental mustards earlier this week. I blagged a tray of chard and more mustard seedlings from the allotment project where I volunteer – they’ll go in also under cover tomorrow.
  • My pak choi’s been decimated by something in the greenhouse. That’s a lesson to plant stuff out as soon as it’s ready. I left it too long and too late!
  • The last of the tomatoes are being brought in to sit on the windowsill to ripen – today I made ratatouille with the last aubergine, a couple of red peppers I grew from a plant given to me by a work colleague. I also made borlotti beans with garlic again. Here’s what they sound like when they squeak as they’re brought to the boil!
  • A lot of spent plants including courgettes and beans are going onto the compost heap. I’ve also been adding old used compost from my indoor aubergines, tomatoes and cucumbers which are pretty much finished now. The plants go on too. I’ve been layering with old cardboard boxes to introduce a little brown and air into the heap.
  • The chillies are still producing. I have picked two thirds of them and will make another batch of spicy jam soon maybe with the addition of some apple or pear and some basil or coriander.
  • I’ve been saving seeds of summer savory and basil – just pick the dried flower heads and pop them in a brown paper bag and shake them. Chilli seeds are also pretty easy to save.
  • Apples and pears are still abundant – I am thinking of having an apple day this Saturday with cake and apple bobbing. If I can find a juicer or press to borrow there will also be juice!
  • The cabbage cage needs dismantling and re erecting over the Purple Sprouting Broccoli which has outgrown the 4ft high tunnels over them. I’ll then put the tunnels over the red cabbage.
  • The pink veined swiss chard is still looking very healthy as are the leeks although some of them are producing flower heads and running to seed. The fennel I planted out a month ago looks as if it’s also going to bolt – not getting enough light where it is.