I was inspired by Vegerama in the Brisbane CBD to make a Pesto Vegetable Salad and I knew I had a kick butt pesto recipe hidden somewhere on my Pinterest. The salad that inspired me is a fresh and crunchy combination of grated carrot, capsicum, roasted pumpkin, chickpeas, green beans, olives and tofu. I’m pretty sure that the Vegerama version doesn’t have parmesan in it because all of their food is at least vegetarian if not vegan but for me the parmesan in a pesto is the best bit. I love finding a tasty idea for a salad then recreating it at home for less money and tweaking it to fit my personal tastes.
The salad recipe will be forthcoming but for now here is the pesto that I used as the salad dressing. It’s quite thick so if you want it to spread a bit easier you can thin it with a little bit of water. This recipe makes quite a bit of pesto but if you divide it up into little zip lock bags and pop them in the freezer you’ll have lovely homemade pesto at your fingertips. This stuff is addictive. From the moment I got the seasoning just right I was spooning it out of the blender and basically shoving the spatula in my sister’s hands so we could both babble about how tasty it was.
1 large bunch basil, stems included
1 cup grated parmesan
1 cup olive oil
2/3 cup raw walnuts
4 cloves garlic
salt and pepper
Place everything except the salt and pepper in a blender or food processor, pulse until combined and smooth.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, pulsing in between additions (add enough salt to make the taste of the parmesan really pop).