Nutrition

Best Culinary Herbs and Minimal Ingredient Pesto Recipes

August 25, 2020

I know it can be a little intimidating to start cooking with different herbs if its something you are not used to but it can be a great way to add some extra flavour and nutrients into your dishes. Here are some of my favourite fresh and dried herbs:

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Best Culinary Herbs and Minimal Ingredient Pesto Recipes


I know it can be a little intimidating to start cooking with different herbs if its something you are not used to but it can be a great way to add some extra flavour and nutrients into your dishes. Here are some of my favourite fresh and dried herbs:

Basil: contains high levels of vitamin K as well as good levels of vitamin A, manganese and vitamin C. Blend into pesto and other sauces and add to Asian and stir fry dishes.

Mint: a calming herb that supports digestive, oral and brain health. Add to juices, smoothies, water, and desserts. 

Cilantro: people either love or hate this herb but it contains high levels of vitamin K and vitamin A making it a powerful antioxidant. Add it to juices, guacamole, dressings, sauces and more.

Oregano: contains antioxidants and is known to be antimicrobial. Use in salads, dressings, tomato sauces and pasta, and in marinades. 

Rosemary: contains lower levels of nutrients but has been known to contain antioxidants and support decreased inflammation. Infuse with cooking oil, add to cocktails, bake with chicken and fish and roast with veggies. 

Thyme: contains high levels of vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, manganese, calcium, and magnesium. Bake and roast with meat and veggies and add to soups, sauces and marinades.

Dill: contains good levels of vitamin A and vitamin C. Add it to dips and spreads, soups and stews, salmon, roasted carrots and tuna salad.

Chives: contain high levels of fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K. Great in soup, fish, potato and dip recipes. 

Bay leaves: contain a lower level of nutrients but are known to contain antioxidants and be antimicrobial. Use in pot roasts, chicken and soups.

Parsley: Contains high levels of vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, among others. Juice or blend into smoothies, add to pasta dishes, grain bowls, or egg dishes.

Pesto – Three Ways

When people think of pesto, they generally think of pasta and although its my  favourite pasta sauce, it can be used for so much more! Try using pesto as a dip or spread on your favourite crackers, add to a pizza crust, spread on bread for dinner, add to a sandwich, and use it as a salad dressing. 

Pesto is also great because it contains anti-inflammatory healthy fats and some versions even contain some protein! And when you make it from scratch you avoid all the other additives that are in store bought versions. 

Below are three simple recipes. All you have to do is add all the ingredients into a food processor and viola – it’s ready to serve! You can also add more or less liquid depending on what you are using the pesto for. For example, you may want to add more oil or even some water if you are using it as a salad dressing versus a dip or pasta sauce. 

Walnut Pesto

  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

Classic Pesto

  • 1/2 cup pine buts
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • optional: add 1/2 avocado

Sweet and Spicy Almond

  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup

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Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Owner of Simply Nic and 1:1 Digital health coach with a passion for all things intuitive nutrition and wellness!

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