Avocado is, as I’m sure you’ll have noticed, a very popular ingredient, to say the least. With people making everything from avocado toast, to avocado chocolate mousse, the possibilities somehow seem endless. I admit, I am a self-proclaimed avocado toast addict, as well as probably eating a lot more guacamole than I should, and I have tried many an avocado recipe, some which I have liked, some which I have not (sorry, avocado chocolate mousse). However, I had to put my own spin on this ubiquitous superfood, that graces our Instagram accounts daily, each time in a new form. therefore, I decided to create an avocado pesto.
Admittedly, this was less of a ‘decision’, than it was a rush to find a pasta sauce when I ran out of actual pesto, and rather than taking the easy route, and using some EVOO or some balsamic, I thought that there would be nothing better than to create my own pesto recipe, using, yes, you guessed it, avocado. The avocado, in my opinion, really lends itself to the creamy, rich sauce, and makes it absolutely delicious. Of course, I’m not claiming that it is pesto in the classic sense, as the texture does not match that of the classic Italian pesto, however, it tastes just as good, with a range of added nutritional benefits also giving you reason to try this delicious sauce. This recipe, as well as containing good, unsaturated fats, is a good way to get in your greens, as I have used spinach, in order to give a better texture, and colour. As well as the recipe for the sauce, I’ll also include some short recipes, with ideas of what to do with the sauce once you have made it.
Active Time: 5 Mins
Total Time: 5 Mins
- 1 Medium avocado
- 30g Baby spinach
- Small bunch basil (around 30 leaves)
- 2 Small cloves of garlic
- Juice of half a lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pinch of red chilli flakes
- Scoop the avocado flesh from the fruit, and place into a bowl or blender with 30g of spinach, and basil leaves.
- Chop the lemon, and roughly chop the garlic, then squeeze the juice of half of the lemon into the bowl, and place the garlic cloves in with the avocado.
- Add the salt and pepper, but not the red chilli flakes, and blend the mixture until smooth and creamy.
- Add the red chilli flakes, and stir thoroughly.
Pesto is just so versatile, and you can do almost anything with it; you can mix it into salad dressings, sauces, add it to vegetables, meat and fish, you can even use it as a pizza sauce. Therefore, due to its versatility, I thought I’d share some of my favourite ways to have this avocado pesto.
Courgetti with avocado pesto
Active Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 10 Minutes
- 2 Medium courgettes
- 5 Button mushrooms, cut in half.
- 1/2 of the above recipe for avocado pesto
- Using a spiralizer, create the pasta from the courgette. If you do not have a spiralizer, it is easy to find spiralized courgette in supermarkets instead!
- Chop the button mushrooms in half, and add them into the spiralized courgettes.
- Pour in the pesto, and mix thoroughly to ensure that all of the dish is coated.
The first thing that I realised when making this dish, is that it is suitable for almost everybody, and fits so many different dietary requirements. It is raw vegan, as well as paleo, gluten free, and dairy free. And yes, I know that to some this may make it sound terribly boring, but it is honestly delicious, and is great for a light summer lunch. If this isn’t enough for you, and you’re generally just a hungry person (aka me), double the recipe! Despite the fact that this is a low-carb meal, the healthy fats in the avocado make for a filling, satisfying lunch.
Pesto Butter Bean Mash
Active Time: 5 Minutes
Total Time: 10 Minutes
- 400g Can of butter beans*
- 1 1/2 Tbsp avocado pesto
- Black pepper
- 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Drain the can of butter beans, and boil them until they’re heated, and soft. This should take around five minutes.
- Drain the cooking water from the beans, and place them into a bowl, along with 1 1/2 Tsbp of the avocado pesto, 1 tsp of EVOO, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Using either a potato masher, or a hand blender**, mash the beans until they reach a smooth consistency, like mashed potatoes would look.
- Serve as a side dish!
*I would always use canned for this recipe, as opposed to dried, as they are much softer, so mash more easily, and have a better consistency.
**I prefer to use a blender, as I feel like you can achieve a much smoother, and creamier mash, than with a potato masher.
Butter bean mash would be a great side dish for something like basa, with Mediterranean vegetables, or for an interesting twist on sausages and mash (I love Linda McCartney’s red onion and rosemary vegetarian sausages). A benefit also of using butter beans, aside from the fact that they taste amazing, is that they have more protein than potatoes, which is great for people who are looking to increase their protein intake.
Pesto Toast with Balsamic Reduction
Active Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 15 Minutes
- 1 Slice of your favourite bread (I used seeded sourdough)
- 1 Tbsp of avocado pesto
- 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/2 Tsp honey
- Set the grill to 250°C.
- Cut a slice of your bread, and top it with one tbsp of pesto.
- Put the bread in the grill to toast for five minutes, until crisp and browned.
- While the bread is toasting, add 2 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar to a pan, and bring to a boil.
- One the vinegar is boiling, add in the honey, and reduce the heat to medium, stirring often.
- Once the balsamic mixture has reduced and thickened slightly, take it off the heat.
- Take the toast off the grill, and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. The sugars should caramelise on the bread.
For this recipe, you could always use a pre-made balsamic reduction, which can usually be bought bottled in supermarkets, however I highly recommend making your own! Although this recipe isn’t strictly vegan, you may be able to swap out the honey for something like maple syrup or agave; I haven’t personally tried this, but if you do, leave a comment below, because I’d love to know if it worked! Also, I think that this recipe would taste amazing with a little goats cheese, and roasted red pepper, if you wanted a fuller meal.