Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Power Packed Basil Pesto





A power packed easy to prepare recipe. Made in minutes. Enjoy the many health benefits provided by the simple ingredients.

Basil pesto is a wonderful tasting accompaniment to pasta. Great as a dipping sauce for fresh cut vegetables. Use it on pizza instead of cheese.

Variation
For raw pesto, soak pine nuts for 6 hours or overnight, then add to recipe. For a more creamy pesto add the flesh of an avocado. For hot and spicy add 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Use macadamia, almond, walnut or cashew nuts in place of pine nuts.

Makes 1 ¾ cups

Ingredients
  
1 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

4 medium size cloves of garlic

2 cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed

1 cup baby spinach leaves, tightly packed

¼ cup fresh parsley (flat or curly leaf)

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 ½ teaspoons salt

Sprinkling of olives for garnish (optional)
Sprinkling of baby spinach or basil leaves for garnish

Method


1) Toast pine nuts lightly, set aside to cool. 


2) Wash basil, spinach leaves and parsley. Remove excess water using a salad spinner or towel dry.
 


3)  Peel and roughly chop garlic

4) Place all the ingredients in a food processor, except the olives. Process on high speed until smooth.
 

Best prepared just before serving as basil loses its flavor easily.
Serve over pasta and garnish with olives and baby spinach or basil leaves.


Pesto will keep up to 4-5 days in the fridge. When kept in the fridge the top tends to oxidize. Just scrape off a thin layer before use.
 
Health benefits of this recipe

Fresh leafy spinach known for its high nutritious content, will provide you with a high dose of folic acid. An adequate intake of folic acid reduces the risk of birth defects in pregnant women. Our body loves it because it helps produce and maintain new cells, especially red blood cells. Deficiency in this vitamin causes anemia. It is high in vitamins A & C and minerals of iron and magnesium.
  
Basil calms nervous digestive disorders. Eases migraines caused by or associated with poor digestion. Increases production of milk in breast feeding women. Known to ease menstrual pain.
  
Parsley provides a rich source of Vitamin A, C & K, folic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium. High in antioxidants. Helps control blood cholesterol levels as well as your heart rate and blood pressure.


Pine nuts are rich source of amino acids ( used to help build the proteins in our body). A source of vitamin A, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, thiamin, niacin and riboflavin.

 Psalms 104:14   He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth

  Posted by Yiannoulla Burness
 

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