The pesto sauce is considered one of the healthiest sauces ever made, a delicious gift from the Italian cuisine. The pesto is made of very basic and simple ingredients and at the same time bursting with flavors. The best part of the pesto sauce is that you’ll be able to taste and enjoy each of its ingredients with every bite, or rather every spoonful. The pesto is also loaded with vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fats.
Today’s twist in the pesto recipe is that I have replaced the traditional basil leaves with mint leaves and the pine nuts with pumpkin seeds. Basil and mint leaves have their own health benefits so it is unfair to compare them. I just happen to love mint a little more than basil, hence the change. As far as pine nuts are involved, there are a couple of reasons why I chose the
pumpkin seeds over pine nuts:
- If you are allergic to nuts, you can still enjoy the pesto sauce by replacing the pine nuts with pumpkin seeds, you just have to ensure that you’re not allergic to seeds before digging into this awesome sauce.
- Though both are nutritious in their own way, pumpkin seeds have a slight edge over the pine nuts; they contain higher amounts of most vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, vitamin K, vitamin E, choline and protein. (source: https://skipthepie.org/nut-and-seed-products/nuts-pine-nuts-pinyon-dried/compared-to/seeds-pumpkin-and-squash-seed-kernels-dried/)
- Pumpkin seeds have lesser calories than pine nuts.
- Pumpkin seeds are less expensive.
Now for the recipe-
You will need
mint leaves – 1 cup, tightly packed
pumpkin seeds – 1/2 cup
garlic – 2 cloves, roughly chopped
green chilli – 1/2
olive oil – 3 tablespoons
parmesan cheese, shredded – 2 tablespoons (can be omitted for a vegan and healthier recipe)
salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients except the oil and cheese in a blender jar and blend until a chunky mixture is formed. Now add the cheese and olive oil and blend until almost smooth. Or leave it chunky if you wish so. It depends on what you want to use the pesto for. Pasta, marinade and dip will require a smooth pesto, while a chunky pesto would taste good as a spread on toast or in a salad dressing.
Simple, isn’t it? This is my absolute go-to sauce for pasta when I’m hungry or tired and in no mood to spend a long time in the kitchen.
Like this sauce? You might want to try the mint yogurt sauce: https://gohealthyeverafter.com/2018/08/24/pasta-salad-with-mint-yoghurt-sauce-recipe/
or the green sauce in: https://gohealthyeverafter.com/2017/05/11/easy-pan-seared-salmon-recipe/
- The pumpkin seeds can be lightly toasted to enhance the taste.
- The green chili gives a subtle punch to the sauce, can be skipped if you’re not a ‘spice’ person.
- The parmesan cheese can be skipped altogether for a healthier and vegan sauce. Trust me, it still tastes good.