Pesto like olive pate and hummus is so easy to make in your own kitchen.

It's a simple dish made of sweet basil and a very few other ingredients; prepare it in less than five-minutes.

  • Parmesan cheese
  • Pine nuts
  • Sweet-basil leaves
  • EVOO
  • Garlic
  • Salt

What are pine nuts?

Pine nuts are, honest Injun, expensive. When you go purchasing pesto, you'll be thinking, this stuff is pricey; I am sure I can make it more cheaply, or I simply cannot afford it.

You can make it for about a quarter of the price, but still pine nuts are expensive. About fifteen-dollars in South Africa for this small pack; about a third of that in America.

According to Wikipedia, that fountain of all knowledge, about twenty species of pine trees produce seeds worth harvesting. In America most are reaped by the native Indians; so I hope you don't mind me using the once offensive term used above.

I never lock myself into recipes; like rules, they are made to be broken. I'm serious; they should only be considered a framework for your cooking.

Last week I ran out of pine nuts and it's about a twenty minute drive to the shop; but pecans are in season, and they are abundant and cheap. With practice you can crack three in one minute. I tried roasting them once, and then we used them raw; we couldn't tell the difference in our pesto.

So raw pecan nut pesto is on the menu for today.

The basic ingredients of pesto.

All nuts have large amounts of healthy fat, plenty of protein and B vitamins; and fibre. See Wikipedia for more details. But you can be assured that they are good stuff provided the oils in them haven't gone rancid; purchase them only in air-tight containers. Better still crack your own.

One pound of pine nuts, nicely sealed in four bags for nineteen dollars is what you pay in America. That's about half a kilogram; it will make enough pesto to keep you going for a long while!

  • Take a couple handfuls of fresh sweet basil leaves, snip off the stalks and chop them up finely. 
  • Roast a couple tablespoons of pine nuts lightly. Quickly chop with a heavy knife, or just use the blender.
  • Peel a clove of garlic.
  • Plop the lot in a mortar, or blender, if you have one; otherwise any pottery dish.
  • Add a good slosh of pain-saving olive oil, and grind or chop it up.
  • As you chop start adding the grated parmesan cheese. When it looks right, put it into a pretty bowl, and cover with a little more extra virgin olive oil.

It's apparently fairly meticulous work harvesting the pine nuts; all done by hand. They are at the heart of this delicious sauce.

Making pesto fortunately takes only a jiffy. You can  roast the pine nuts in a hot pan which takes about two minutes if you use gas, which is a very quick source of heat. Better still, I now have an induction stove. They are even faster and use half the electricity of a conventional hob. 

It is a matter of preference. Do you want them raw, or roasted?

It's your call; personally I prefer them roasted, but Janet and Santie like them raw. Read more at recipe basil pesto lower down. 

Have you not read A Family Affair, my fourth book? If you've got a kindle or smartphone, you may be missing out a delicious novel with a wicked twist. It is a trilogy, costing only 99c each. Ebooks are cheap; cut out the paper, delivery costs and high street store; and the middle men.

Actually this has all changed. Kindle fiddles the price, upwards of course, without asking the author and from being considerably cheaper, Amazon is waist deep in the greed factor. Lots of ebooks now cost more than paperbacks. 

But not A Family Affair; you will love it though you may tear your hair out as Santie and Janet make pesto; it's a given that a pregnancy from rape creates many moral dilemmas.

Pine nuts from Nature's choice for your pesto.
Roasted pine nuts.

So, roasted or raw, pine nuts are an essential ingredient of authentic pesto.

Pine nuts done by hand.

Extra virgin olive oil

Extra virgin olive oil is a natural anti-inflammatory; hence the interest of the chiropractic community. It's an essential ingredient of pesto.

This isn't the place to discuss the virtues of olive oil benefits but sufficient to say, if you are going to spend the extra and buy it, and you should, it will add years to your life; then at least go the whole hog, and buy extra virgin.

The oleocanthal is extracted in the refining process to make a sweet, smooth olive oil; avoid it.


The oleocanthal, found only in the extra virgin olive oil, is the natural anti-inflammatory that blocks angry chemicals in the body in the same way as the medical "Cox 2 NSAIDs." It's in every mouthful of pesto.

Only oleocanthal won't cause a heart attack or give you a hole in the stomach like anti inflammatory drugs are likely to.

Sweet basil

Sweet basil also contains another natural anti-inflammatory agent, called eugenol. That's the beauty of a green salad with a good tablespoon of pesto; let your food be your medicine.

One of the joys of pesto is that it contains not one but two substances that are Cox-inhibitors.

Hence this page on a chiropractic help page; it's a natural supplement to your spinal adjustment for any painful, inflammatory process that may be occurring in your body.


Eugenol oil is one of the active ingredients in sweet basil; one of the reasons why pesto smells so divine.

If you've ever grown sweet basil, or used it in your cooking, you will know that the plant gives off the most fragrant scent. My bees absolutely adore the flowers too. It is the volatile oils like eugenol that gives sweet basil its unique scent; it is absolutely unmistakable.

Herbs with eugenol oil are certainly my favourite, ahead even of parsley and rosemary.

Shall we make sweet basil pesto?

Incidentally the most tedious part of all this is cleaning the blender; so I try to double up. It freezes well. 

As soon as I've finished blending the pesto, I go right on and make our authentic hummus recipe. If you have chickpeas in the freezer it takes only another five minutes to prepare yet another healthy dish that will further liven up even the most boring green salad.

Oops we didn't have any Parmesan. I wonder how feta cheese will be instead? Mm, it is a bit salty.

Use a spatula to scrape your basil and hummus into airtight containers, and get them into the refrigerator as soon as possible; or freeze them.

So that's done. Pesto is certainly one of our slow foods, made fast. Once you have got all the goodies at your right elbow, it only takes a couple of minutes to roast the pine nuts; at the same time chop the basil, slosh in the olive oil and parmesan cheese.

Then add the roasted nuts; no more than thirty seconds with the blender. With a little practice, you too can make your own healthy, preservative-free pesto in only five minutes.

There is no pretty bowl today; that you do on high and holy days when you want to show off to your guests. It just goes straight to a small bottle that we use to store our pesto. Actually this one's a bit too large. You want a minimum of air in it to protect those volatile oils.

Cover it with olive oil if you want it to last longer, but rather finish within a few days.

Pesto and hummus are made with the stick blender.

Sweet basil and hummus are two of my favouite condiments.

What's the big deal with these salads and oils? Frankly, it is not simple and there is a huge amount of ongoing research. Much has to do with what are now being called phytochemical foods.

Completed jars of pesto and hummus.

Those volatile oils in your pesto, in the hummus too, are very readily oxidised; that's their virtue.

Because they can easily swap electrons they act as strong anti-oxidants in the body.

So don't keep them for more than three days.

A pesto sandwich takes a lot of beating.

Helen's 15 euro salad

Can I be honest? Yes, I too think a plain salad can be very dull. Most folk eat it very often only under compulsion. Add homemade bread, hummus and homemade pesto; drizzle it with olive oil and lemon juice and I promise you, the most delicious meal lies in wait.

Here I have thrown in half an egg for extra protein, and the choline; this is my wife's meal in one.

I call it Helen's 15 euro salad. Use the Site Search function in the main menu to find it.

A pesto lunch.

I have just counted my ten colours for the day that I need to ensure that the big cancer does not strike here. You don't believe me? Can you see the parsley, avocado and sweet pepper? Then there is cherry guava jelly, chives and two kinds of lettuce; baby spinach, sweet basil and fresh coriander make up the numbers. In general they are rich in phytonutrients.

The good wife's salad is what has saved me from the ravages of constipation. And, if you add a good dollop of our sweet basil mix, hummus or olive pate you have a most memorable and delicious dish. Better still, it spells the end of rabbit pellets.

Whether it is bowel cancer, headaches or diverticulitis, believe you me constipation will prematurely make the end of your life a misery. Instead, like me, enjoy a good salad most days; we're not discussing small beer here.  

You might think you don't have time; consider of all the hours you will be saving visiting doctor's rooms. If you do will not spend five minutes making pesto and looking after your body, then just where are you planning to live, eh?

Now, that's what I call a luncheon fit for a king; with pesto and hummus in the center, and this time cherry guava jelly on homemade bread.

No apologies for the generous use of butter. Enjoy food like this and you need have no fear of the dreaded cholesterol, and the even more awful statins.

In any case, butter is back and should never have been banished to Coventry in the first place. 

Yes, I'll admit to being passionate about healthy living food. When I see at the chiropractic coalface what cancer and arthritis does to people, I have no compunction about the time spent growing organic fruit and veg, and preparing tasty meals.

Compared to the hours wasted in doctor's offices having cholesterol tests, bone scans and colonoscopies, the time spent in making foods like pesto and hummus is minimal; perhaps fifteen minutes to prepare them both. Is that too long to save yourself from dread disease?

I get high without a little help from my friends

If I wanted to get high, without a little help from my friends, I'd do it on sweet basil. It is the most exotic, beautiful and lovely scent I know. I could go sniffing freshly crumpled leaves of sweet basil at all hours of the day.

I've made two changes to our basic recipe. Firstly, I found it a little oily, so I add some water now. And secondly, as stated at the top, we make it with other nuts, usually pecans, but I am sure walnuts and almonds would work just as well. For another variation on the theme see this Tufts health letter; I recommend subscribing to this excellent site.

  • Standard recipe basil pesto. 

I make sure there's Parmesan cheese about; it is definitely the best.

I try it with all sorts, but thinly sliced tomato on homemade bread, with a generous helping of pesto is as good a sandwich comes. Once again, with our homemade bread and plenty of butter is allowed for folk who eat these kinds of whole foods.

If you're into good food, and I assume you are, otherwise you wouldn't be reading about making pesto on line, then give serious thought to making your own homemade bread.

By adding a dollop of humus and a tablespoon of olive oil you can turn it into low GI bread, without all the chemicals that bakers add to your supermarket loaf. It takes me only five minutes, literally, to mix the ingredients, and five hours in the little oven.

A pesto and tomato sandwich.

Here is my own scrape with medicine; MoviPrep Sebastian Vettel exhaust. Find it using the Site Search function. I hope I will never again! It came about because of years of constipation before I met Helen and her 15 euro salad.

Making your own homemade bread is so easy with the help of a the machine.  It's a wonder gadget; your own delicious, healthy loaf for only five minutes of labour.

Even better than the taste, this kind of food, loaded with a daily dose of natural anti-inflammatory nutrients, means less anger in your whole body; it'll may even help reducing your sacroiliac joint pain though I cannot say I have seen that researched.

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