I love a fresh basil pesto pasta. But basil pesto sort of sucks without the parmesan cheese if you’re dairy free like me. And then, much as I know basil is rammed full of healthy goodness, I’m always quite keen to add a few more veggies into anything I serve up to my kids. Plus some kids seem to hate the taste of basil, unfortunate little souls, and this is a good way to introduce the taste a little more gently. Enter fake pesto sauce. I whipped this up in mere minutes and the kids wolfed it down even more quickly.
I keep vast quantities of this frozen in little cubes in my freezer as a quick pasta sauce for my kids. Its pretty versatile and works brilliantly if you half and half it with a béchamel sauce, stir through some scrummy cheese and shredded chicken or tuna. You can even use it for a pasta bake. Or as a puree for a really small baby, or as a base for a pasta sauce for adults.
1/2 a finely chopped onion
A couple of cloves of crushed garlic
2 medium courgette, grated
A large handful fresh spinach (or a few cubes of the chopped frozen variety)
A big sprig of fresh basil leaves (optional if your kids can’t stand it)
Sweat the onion in a little olive oil in a covered pan until very soft and full of flavour. Add the garlic and saute for a minute. Add the green veg and cook gently until everything is well softened before blitzing with an immersion blender, liquidiser or food processor.
To freeze, portion out into ice cube trays, cover till cool, then freeze. Once these guys are frozen solid, you can flip them out of the tray into a ziplock bag. They will keep for roughly 3 months in the freezer.