Italian people are renowned for their longevity and it’s no surprise when you consider they eat such super healthy foods like pesto. They are accustomed to using a plethora of herbs with olive oils and really value the freshness of food and preserving its flavour.
Pesto is not only extremely healthy but it’s also something that is so easy to make that even without parmesan cheese it still tastes great. When my daughter was very little pesto pasta was one of her favourite things to eat.
This vegan & nut-free pesto uses seeds (sunflower and pumpkin) instead of nuts. Most, if not all, of the no-nuts alternatives, such as seeds, that I have seen on the market have precautionary allergy labelling stating that the product may contain nuts, sesame etc. Even though my son sometimes eats food with such warnings, so far without any negative side-effects, it would be much better to make sure the ingredients are free from allergens; that’s the same for 80% of parents of children with nut allergies.
However, I have recently discovered pumpkin seeds from Detox Trading, which are nut free (this is stated on their website and I have personally contacted the company in May 2020 to verify). This is great news for the nut allergy suffers.
Unfortunately, I have not found any brand of sunflower seeds where the manufacturer either states on their packaging or personally confirms via email that their product is completely nut-free.
I use both parsley and basil for two reasons. Firstly, I love the flavour created by mixing together basil and parsley. Secondly, both herbs are extremely beneficial for your health and I want to utilise them all.
Basil (sweet basil) has been used for centuries as medicine for various ailments ranging from digestive aids to headaches and cold. It is also an adaptogen, which means that it helps your body to manage stress. It not only has an amazing flavour, but is anti-inflammatory and contains lots of antioxidants.
Parsley has an abundance of anti-oxidants including vitamin A, C and K. Vitamin K is important for bone health while vitamin A helps your eye heath. It has many other health benefits including antibacterial and antinflammatory properties. Not only that, parsley can also prevent the linger taste of garlic in your mouth whenever its included in the food you eat.
So, always remember that basil and parsley are extremely beneficial – from young to old!
Ingredients (Makes approx. 130g enough to make small 1lb pesto babka above)
8g Italian parsley leaves
25g sunflower seeds
25g pumpkin seeds
45g olive oil (and extra to top at the end)
1g (1/4tsp) salt
2tsp lemon juice
Add all the ingredients in the food processor.
Mix well until a nice thick pesto. Add more olive oil if necessary to adjust the consistency.