I’ve left the Parmesan (which is usually in pesto) out of this recipe and substituted for nutritional yeast flakes. This is because it tastes just as good without it and I like to minimise the use of animal products where possible in order to minimise my carbon footprint.*
It’s important that you layer the ingredients in order (if you’re using a nutribullet) otherwise you have the potential to blend the pesto too finely. If you like your pesto extra course blend everything else then add the seeds and pulse till you have the desired consistency.
Put your jar and lid into a hot oven for 5 minutes to kill off any bacteria. Be careful when removing and wait till it’s cooled before filling with your pesto.
- 70g toasted sunflower seeds (to toast swirl the seeds around in a dry frying pan till they are toasty brown and smell slightly of popcorn)
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Pepper
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 70g wild garlic
- 10g parsley
- 4-5 tsp nutritional yeast flakes
- 100ml rapeseed oil (you could use olive oil but it’s too flavoursome for me which detracts from the flavour of the garlic/ can be bitter)
Usually wild garlic starts to bloom around the end of April in the UK however since we’ve had a crazy hot winter this year everything seems to have sped up (climate change, booo).
The rise in temperature might momentarily sound great to us (because who doesn’t love sunshine) but to put things into perspective: one of my swimming pals recently had a hedgehog in their garden who had come out of hibernation too early. At this time of year
his normal diet isn’t yet in abundance, so they’ve started feeding him (so he doesn’t starve to death), he’s one of the lucky ones. Keep in mind if for any reason one species of animal is in population decline another will thrive, in the case of hedgehogs their usual diet is slugs, snails and insects. Do we really want more of them and less hedgehogs? Answer: no.
Wild Garlic Oil
You can make wild garlic oil instead of pesto if you don’t like/ are allergic to nuts and seeds (just leave them out). This delicious oil can be added to mayonnaise, risotto, salad dressings, or used as a sauce itself… fancy restaurants might strain the oil through a muslin cloth for clarification (it also lasts longer) but I prefer to leave all the leaves in for more flavour.
Wild Garlic Risotto
To make a base risotto for two people:
- DO NOT ADD SALT UNTIL THE END. The pesto is quite salty and you don’t want to overdo it.
- Add 1 dessert spoon of oil to a pan with 1 cup of arborio rice: stir until the rice is clear-ish.
- Add 1/4 cup of hot water at a time and when evaporated add another.
- Add 2 tbsp nutritional yeast and one teaspoon of bouillon (or a veg stock cube)
- The base is cooked when all the water has soaked up and the rice still has some texture. Add another quarter cup of hot water and take off the heat (it will soak this up too). This takes roughly 2.5 cups of hot water.
- I added two bunches of spinach, you don’t have to.
- Finally add 2-3 tablespoons of wild garlic pesto (or wild garlic oil)and stir through.
*animal products have a higher carbon footprint because of the land, water and feed needed to raise them and grow their food- this is not taking into account their mileage once the product has been made (Parmesan making the flight from Italy to your house through various farms and supermarkets/ cheesemongers). Nutritional yeast is a natural by-product from making molasses.
I’m hosting a panel discussion on food, waste, conscious consumerism and climate change in London on Thursday April 4th (2019). I would adore to see you there. If you’d like to attend and participate in the event you can purchase your tickets here.