Amaranth and Basil Pesto

I am seriously hoping this pesto calms my nerves. It's not what I usually turn to, at times like this ... but my whole body is fizzing with stress right now. Like soda water. Or live wires. I can't think, and I'm thinking GREEN stuff might help.

Here's the deal. Nelle loves school, she loves day care, she loves holiday programs. What she can't handle is me leaving. I don't know what's happened over this last year - it was never like this before she started school - but oh, the soul-wrenching tears at drop-off time. The clinging, the mummy please don't go, the pleading look on her face. Having to pry her white knuckles off my leg, turn my back on her and just go. (No looking back, don't do it, don't look back)

It absolutely crushes me.

There's nothing like feeling you're abandoning your child to get you in the mood for productive, efficient work ... So I start the bulk of my day feeling like shit, shaking with anxiety. Knowing that she's fine and happy and has likely already forgotten me doesn't make me feel any better. 

I feel like turning to chocolate, or wine, or Vicodin. But those are short-term fixes, am I right?

No good. Nope. Today's all about green tea, homemade pesto over rocket, an hours' yoga and a long bath (with purifying face mask) in the silence of my empty house. I need a re-set. I need my body to do work for itself, on itself.

And let's be honest. I'll be having chocolate, too.
Amanda xx

Amaranth and Basil Pesto
makes 2+ cups - for eating now, freezing + giving away

Amaranth is a purple/green leafy plant with bright, protein-rich seeds often used as a grain substitute or a natural pink colourant. (I love to pick them straight off the plant and sprinkle them across salads). The leaves are rich in vitamins A & C, as well as calcium. I use young leaves in salads, and cook larger ones as I do spinach. If you grow just one herb and one leafy green in your garden, I recommend basil + amaranth. Both are tolerant and pretty much take care of themselves once you get them started. A great way to vary your diet!

The time
10 minutes

The ingredients
4 cups loosely packed basil leaves - washed and patted dry
4 cups loosely packed amaranth leaves - washed and patted dry
1 cup almonds (or substitute other favourite nuts)
1 - 2 organic garlic cloves
1 + 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil (+ extra, for storage)
1 cup shredded parmesan or percorino
1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1 small red chilli, optional

The process
1. Blend all the ingredients in a food processor
2. Immediately freeze half in ice cube or mini-muffin trays, and transfer to an airtight container (in the freezer) when frozen. 
3. The rest, store in a jar in the fridge, covered with olive oil. It should last a week or two ... and when it's gone, remember the cubes you have in the freezer!

The cost
My batch of pesto was 100% organic, and cost ~$5. That's about $0.60 per tablespoon-ful. I grew my own amaranth and basil, but market-fresh greens probably won't increase the cost much.

  • Use organic when you can - particularly for the leaves. Also, fresh organic garlic tends to be smoother in flavour than imported or major-supermarket varieties. You'll notice the difference, and love it. 
  • Smear pesto across toast and top with poached or boiled eggs
  • Add 3 Tbs cream to 2 Tbs pesto and stir through 2-3 serves of pasta
  • Dilute 1 tsp pesto with 2 Tbs macadamia oil (or olive) and 2 tsp white wine vinegar and drizzle over 2 salads
  • Add to tomato soups, sauces, or whenever you need basil and don't have any fresh
  • A small jar of homemade pesto makes a great gift for friends. xx