One of the things that is exciting about cooking is transforming recipes to use more easily accessible ingredients or ingredients that are friendlier for the wallet. Whether you successfully replicate the dish or you end up creating a dish that riffs off the original in a new, delicious way, either way your experiment is a success.
One such experiment in our kitchen led to this recipe for a pesto that uses cheap, everyday ingredients found in Indian kitchens. We love a good pesto for a weeknight dinner but it’s a little hard to get on board with using expensive Pinenuts for a meal that isn’t an event. We’re cheap like that. But then this recipe is a perfect substitute and using coriander along with the basil leaves makes for a bright pesto that is seriously delicious, unctuous and flavourful.
You could switch out the basil for more coriander to make an all coriander pesto. You could use cashews instead of peanuts and even some feta cheese or a little bit of paneer as the cheese. Or skip the cheese if you want to go vegan. You could even add a little ginger. These won’t make a traditional pesto but never let that get in the way of a delicious meal.
Basil, Coriander and Peanut Pesto
1 small bunch fresh Basil leaves
1 small bunch Coriander leaves
1 tbs unsalted Peanuts, dry roasted
1 tbs salted Peanuts, dry roasted
2 cloves Garlic
1 Green Chili (optional)
1/4 cup extra virgin Olive Oil
Juice of half a Lemon
Salt and Pepper to taste
½ cup grated Parmesan Cheese (I used regular processed cheddar and it still tasted great!!)
Place the basil and coriander leaves, salt & pepper, garlic, peanuts and half the olive oil in a food processor and process. Stop to scrape sides. Process further. Stir in the remaining olive oil. Heat a frying pan and add the remaining olive oil.
Add the pesto to this and heat through before stirring in the cheese and lemon juice.
Serve with any kind of pasta cooked al-dente.