While not an avid follower of food trends, I have to admit that when I initially scanned through the list of what’s hot for 2018, it immediately got a thumbs up from me. It favours aspirational food goals and mindful choices, rather than bizarre ingredients that offer little substance and scant flavour. Prompted by the ‘nose to tail’ philosophy, as veggie fans, we now embrace ‘root to leaf’ eating, which I’m more than happy to fall in line with. This detox celery leaf pesto supports vegetable centred eating and opens the door to plenty more creative ways of lessening food waste. Besides, using leftovers to make something delicious is both savvy and very gratifying.
My fridge is never without some type of pesto. Our favourite recipe is this Ultimate green basil pesto. I usually make a large batch at least once a week which we use for basil pesto chicken sandwiches, pesto pasta or stirred into Italian style soups for an extra hit of herby flavour. Last week I ran out of basil, parmesan and pine nuts which, once again, proves that necessity is the mother of invention. Scavenging around the veggie draw can lead to good things….
My mother is a genius at food substitution. Perhaps I’ve inherited her genes. I hope so. After a general kitchen rummage, I managed to gather a few core ingredients that looked like potential pesto candidates. A bunch of celery, a handful of Italian parsley, garlic, olives and my latest pantry staple, nutritional yeast. After some initial tweaking and tasting, I ended up with the most incredible pesto that happens to be vegan and cheap as chips to make. I celebrated with avo toast. Of course I added a spoonful of this zesty pesto to the smashed avocado. I’m calling it the food with benefits.
Cooks notes: Nutritional yeast can be found at most Health food stores or on-line at Faithful to Nature. It has a cheesy taste and is high in Vitamin B1 and 2 and folic acid. It’s often used in vegan cooking to replace cheese. Substitute with parmesan cheese, if you’re not following a vegan diet.
Detox celery leaf pesto
- 3 cups celery leaves
- a handful flat leaf Italian parsley
- 1/4 cup pitted green olives
- 1 clove garlic
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
- 15ml (1 tablespoon) lemon juice
- 15ml (1 tablespoon) nutritional yeast flakes
- 125ml (1/2 cup) extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt flakes and freshly cracked black pepper
- Place the celery leaves, parsley, olives and garlic in a food processor and pulse until broken down and fine.
- Add the sunflower seeds, lemon juice and nutritional yeast and blitz once more.
- Add the olive oil and season with sea salt and black pepper and pulse to combine.
- Transfer the pesto to a sterilised jar and pour a thin layer of olive oil over the top.
- Seal until ready to use and store in the fridge.
For a more traditional pesto, this one is just the bees knees: The ultimate green basil pesto pasta