Weekend Cooking: Hey pesto!

(A bit too cheesy you think?)



Last Sunday my neighbour messages to ask if we’d like some vegetables from her friend’s garden. Some chard and basil. I was more interested in the chard as I’ve never cooked with it before – not something you find much of in Singapore so it wasn’t a familiar vegetable. (It ended up simply stirfried with garlic and olive oil if you’re wondering)

It was a rather large bunch of basil and I thought, pesto!

We haven’t had pesto for ages. Usually I buy it at stores and toss it into pasta for a quick meal. But most pestos – and pesto recipes – have nuts which is big no in our house since we discovered two years ago that Wee Reader is allergic to tree nuts and peanuts (he also used to be allergic to wheat and eggs but has more or less outgrown those). So we haven’t eaten pesto in ages!

Googling “nut -free pesto” resulted in this recipe from Two peas and their pod. A basil spinach pesto! More vegetables! Fantastic!

My lack of a food processor didn’t stop me from making this. I only have an immersion blender but it comes with a tiny food processor-like container. So I processed the spinach and basil in batches, then added the cheese, garlic and olive oil. And don’t forget the salt and pepper!

Now that I’ve had fresh nut-free basil, I’m definitely excited to make it again! But first, we’ve got to use up this batch.


The next day I cooked some boneless chicken thighs, simply with salt and pepper and a bit of Zhoug spices. Then sautéed some chopped shallot and garlic, added the pesto and some chopped sundried tomatoes. Later I tossed in the cooked chicken (cut into bite sized cubes) and cooked fusili. Added a bit of extra herbs and there was dinner. Wee Reader enjoyed it so much he brought the leftovers to preschool the next day – and ate it all up! (I have to admit having been worried that he wouldn’t like ‘green’ pasta)

I’m guessing the pesto can be frozen but for now it’s sitting in my fridge waiting for the next pasta day.

Do you have any other non-traditional nut-free pesto ideas? I’m wondering about making it with cilantro instead of basil. And remember seeing a recipe for red pepper/tomato pesto.






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  1. Is there such thing as too much cheese?! I’m not a big fan of cilantro but I did see a broccoli pesto recently. I didn’t mark it down since my husband is allergic but if I can remember where I found it, I’ll let you know.


  2. I’ve yet to make a Nut-free pesto. Have made pesto with nuts using spinach, carrot tops, basil and mint. Each vegetable lends a distinct flavour to the different pesto. Am sure that there are nut-free versions of these 🙂


  3. I love pesto. I make it without the cheese for freezing (you can always add the cheese to the final dish). I’ve made it with a variety of herbs and always been happy with the results. My favorite is Scarborough Fair pesto — equal parts of parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. So good and the perfect seasoning for stuffing.


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