Monday, 27 February 2017

Morag Gamble's super pesto recipe using simple garden greens (8 mins)

Pesto is incredibly delicious. It's healthy too and so easy to make using whatever greens are in your garden. I went foraging today and harvested some great ingredients for a new batch of yummy pesto. At dinner time, the children devoured it - reckoned this is one of the best batches I've made yet ... (thanks kids!)

Pesto - more than basil
Pesto is usually associated with basil, and yes I agree, it's a wonderful flavour, but you can also make pesto from all kinds of garden greens or better still, a wondrous blend.

Today in my foraging, I harvested three types of basil, parsley, rocket, welsh onions, society garlic, cranberry hibiscus and sorrel. I blended these together with some toasted ground sunflower seeds, the juice of a lime and some olive oil and created an amazingly simple, but superbly flavoured pesto that can be used for all kinds of things, such as:

  • pasta (veggie spirals are great with this)
  • bruschetta (it's great on the organic wood-fired local sourdough bread)
  • soup 
  • salad
  • dip

Extend the harvest
Often when the basil is on, it's on! Making pesto is a great way to appreciate this abundance. I typically make up a big batch, then freeze in an ice cube tray. It's a great way to extend the basil harvest.

Super greens for the kids
Also, because you can include any number of leafy greens, it is actually a great way to get your kids to eat an enormous dose of very nourishing greens.


Here's what I use for a really lovely texture of smooth pesto. As you can see, it's more of a ratio I am suggesting here rather than exact ingredients. There is huge flexibility in the types of greens. It varies soo widely between seasons and regions!

  • 2 cups leaves from your garden (basil or mixed greens - garlic chives, welsh onion, rocket, parlsey, mizuna, kale, spinach, silverbeet, pumpkin, sorrel, cranberry hibiscus, Brazilian spinach, nasturtium, and 'weeds' too like chickweed ... )
  • 1 lime/lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup raw or toasted ground seeds/nuts (I use a coffee grinder)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 1/3 cup parmesan

NB: The leaves and flowers of the garlic chives replace the garlic in typical pesto recipes. It tastes great!


Basically I just toss all the ingredients into a food processor and buzz until smooth, then spatula it all into a mason jar. It's important to tap it down to ensure there are no air bubbles in the mix (will oxidise/go brown where there are bubbles) and I top it off with a little oil to keep it fresh. I store this in the fridge for about a week or two, but it doesn't usually last that long though.  If you want to store it longer, it's a good idea to freeze it.


  1. Thanks for the recipe and also the knowledge you have been sharing.

  2. Great idea. Thanks for expanding my pesto concept.