So here’s my healthier and cheaper pesto! The same yummy flavour just with a few more nutrients and a simple swap which cuts costs big time, walnuts!! Usually, pine nuts are used to make pesto but as yummy as they are, they are also incredibly expensive. I always prefer to make my own sauces but I rarely make pesto because of the price – until I decided to try this swap. It is amazing! I lightly toasted the walnuts to add more flavour too. So yummy. My second little trick… Spinach. This one is for all those little humans out there who don’t love their greens yet. My son is one of them. Although we have made huge progress over summer, we still aren’t there with spinach. Pasta and chicken, however, is a total winner for him. So sneaking it in here is easy as! I’ve chosen to eat this meal with zoodles, keeping low carb, keto and gluten-free. But it could be served so many ways… Roast vegetables, pasta, quinoa, really anything. It would also be amazing with other proteins, salmon is also a personal favourite. Plus you can make a huge batch of this pesto and freeze! Perfect for a healthy mid-week meal.
While we are here though, let’s talk about the nutritional facts about the key ingredient in my pesto. Walnuts are not only a cheaper option when it comes to nuts, they are also super good for you! They are rich in omega-3, contain vitamin E and folate, full of antioxidants and also are an amazing source of monosaturated fatty acids. Scientific studies have also shown that a regular consumption of walnuts in your diet helps prevents heart diseases and offers support to brain health. So many reasons to add walnuts to your diet one way or another. This pesto is an easy way to get them in especially for kids.
A healthier creamy walnut pesto with chicken
- 1 cup lightly toasted walnuts
- 1 cup fresh basil
- 1 cup baby spinach leaves
- 2 large garlic cloves sliced
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- juice of 1/2 a fresh lemon
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large chicken breast
- 1 cup pouring cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place basil, garlic, spinach, parmesan and walnuts into food processor and begin blitzing at a medium speed
- Slowly drizzle with the olive oil and lemon juice.
- Chop chicken into small dices and cook in a pan for 2/3 minutes.
- Add 1/2 a cup of the pesto and cream and stir until combined.
- Cook for a further 3/4 minutes or until chicken is cooked and sauce is slightly reduced.
- Serve with your chosen side and garnish with some more fresh basil, parmesan and crushed walnuts
This recipe will make about 1.5 cups of pesto. Use 1/2 a cup to serve 2 and freeze the rest for a rainy day!