‘Pesto’ comes from the Italian ‘pestaro’, meaning to pound or crush (this is also where the word pestle, as in pestle and mortar, comes from). We’re very used to eating the basil, pine nut and parmesan variety – scan any supermarket shelf and you’ll see many versions of this traditional mainstay – but the concept stretches brilliantly. Just as Thai cooks make up the base for their sauces by pounding lemongrass, garlic, chilli, etc., in a mortar, with a pestle, to make their ‘paste’, Ayurvedic cooks can really benefit from the same approach. This very quick and easy ‘pesto’ can be eaten with anything – spread on sandwiches, mixed into rice or pasta, used as a marinade, dolloped upon soup. It’s a great fallback snack as parsley and coriander/cilantro are both tri-doshic, and will balance every dosha, while seriously stoking digestive fire, or agni, too. Vata types can add a small chopped courgette too, when in season, for added veggie goodness.
1 small bunch coriander/cilantro leaves and stems, with dry/woody bits of the stems cut off
1 small bunch parsley
240ml/1 cup extra virgin olive oil 168g/1 cup flax or pumpkin seeds
1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
Very generous grind of black pepper Juice of half a fresh lime, squeezed
- 1 Put all the ingredients in a blender and whizz up until you get a lovely smooth paste
- 2 Eat what you want, and scoop the rest into clean sterile jars, seal and refrigerate, where it will keep for up to 2 weeks. Simple!