Everyone needs a great pesto recipe! Pesto is one of those nutrient dense, wildly flavorful sauces that is delicious in multiple ways. It can be served traditionally over noodles, used as a dip, makes the perfect sauce for chicken or fish, and is a crowd pleaser in my Shrimp and Zoodles recipe.
This sassy little recipe uses pumpkin seeds instead of the traditional pine nuts or walnuts. What I like about making pesto is the versatility. You can use parsley and basil, but also add, or substitute, mint, cilantro, arugula or spinach. If you don’t like garlic, you can use onion or shallot. You can substitute a different type of hard grating cheese, like ricotta salata or pecorino, and it gives the pesto a completely different flavor profile. For centuries great cooks have been using what they have on hand to make delicious versions of basic recipes.
Parsley, basil and garlic are antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, improve cardiovascular health and have anti-cancer benefits. Olive oil is renowned for its role in longevity by reducing inflammation in the body, supporting heart health and decreasing the risks of certain types of cancer. Finally, pumpkin seeds are nutrient super stars — filled with magnesium, manganese, copper, protein and zinc. They are also loaded with beneficial plant compounds, antioxidants and fiber that all have powerful health benefits.
Pumpkin Seed Pesto
- 1 c. roasted salted pumpkin seeds (pepitas) without shells
- 4 tbsp. fresh-grated parmesan
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 c. basil
- 1 c. fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tbsp. lemon zest
- 1 c. extra-virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine pumpkin seeds, Parmesan and garlic in food processor fitted with a metal
- Process 30 seconds until the seeds are finely ground and garlic is minced.
- Add basil, parsley, lemon juice, zest and olive oil, pulsing until the herbs are finely
- chopped and the oil is well incorporated.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Enjoy immediately with your favorite noodles, Zoodles or spiralized vegetables.
So whip up a batch of pesto, serve it over Zoodles, making a simple delicious meal that fills you up with everything good. For my other pesto recipes try Lightly Pickled Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto, Steamed Head of Cauliflower with Broccoli Sauce, or Zoodles & Shrimp with Lemon Pesto.