Cheaper alternatives to standard pesto

I have discovered that you can make pesto with carrot tops or parsley, replacing the basil. Creating a wider window of home made pesto.
You can use cashew nuts (or other creamy nut you have in the cupboard) it doesn’t have to be pine nuts. These can be very hard to get packaging free. If you want to keep it British then use cob nuts.
If you want to make it dairy free then just use nutritional yeast instead of Parmesan.
This makes it much cheaper than store bought ones.

You can also make more than you need and freeze the surplus in the right portions for simple week night suppers.

If using carrot tops, my tip is to soak them in water for at least an hour before using.


Yes, great idea! Pesto is extremely versatile. Basically you can use almost any greens you like. (kale, dandelion, ashweed, small radish…)
I liked to use almonds because they are cheaper than pine nuts. Lately I use walnuts because there is a walnut tree at my parents. This makes for a more intense nut flavour in the pesto, but I like it.
Also I experiment with additional flavouring like lemon or orange zest which turns out to be great.
So yeah, go for it!

1 Like

I’ve heard you can use wild garlic leaves - apparently there’s lots at our local park at the moment so planning to forage :slight_smile:

1 Like

Wild garlic pesto is very tasty - go easy on the amount of garlic you add to begin with, it varies but can be very pungent (I nearly blew my in laws heads off once!).

(as an aside, wild garlic needs very little if any sun to grow so a good choice for pots in shady spaces).

I highly recommend using radish greens!

Yes, good idea! I throw them in the salad too.

I love radish greens - more than the root I think - and your post has reminded me I’m not growing any. I’ve not made them into a pesto… yet - sounds good.