This is actually a recipe that I have been wanting to share with you for a while now. I’ve been making homemade pesto for a quite a few years, and around two years ago tried my hand at making chimichurri. For the uninitiated, chimichurri is a similar concept to pesto, but with a south American twist (where it hails from – I believe its Argentinean though happy to be corrected on that). These green herby sauces are prominent in a lot of cultures, not just Mediterranean and South American diets. Which means that there are a lot of variations, making them the perfect thing to experiment with at home.
So where does this fit in to food waste? I personally struggle to grow herbs at home. My Vietnamese mint is thriving, but my regular mint, all basil varieties, coriander, even parsley! – I seriously struggle with. This means that when I need these herbs for a recipe, I’ll buy a whole bunch, though I don’t normally need the whole quantity for the recipe. This means Im left with half a bunch of herbs that sometimes I might use up, but sometimes sit in the fridge until they are starting to look a little sad. So if I’m not planning on using the herbs, I’ll turn them into a green herb sauce. This sauce can be used in so many ways (see below), and due to the oil will last a good few weeks, extending the shelf life of the herbs.
Further to this, it’s a great way to incorporate any greens that are in a similar situation (ie nearing their timely end!) or any greens that you mind not be sure how to use – think beet greens, carrot tops, radish greens etc.
- Spoon onto your avo toast
- Stir through your whisked eggs before scrambling
- Use as a marinade for tofu/fish/meat
- Add extra oil and/or a little water to thin it out a little more, and use as a salad dressing
- Use to dress pasta or noodles
– MAKE IT YOUR OWN –
This recipe is intended to be used as a guide, so you can really make it your own to suit your own tastes. If you’re not a very confident cook, I’d start with mainly fresh herbs (try one or a mix of basil, parsley or coriander) and a subtle green such as spinach. I’d also use a fairly ‘mild’ nut like a cashew.
Once you get the hang of it, start to experiment with flavours based on what you like. This dressing is infinitely adaptable and lasts a good few weeks in the fridge.
- 1 cup chopped herbs (eg parsley, dill, basil, coriander)
- 1 - 2 cup raw greens (eg spinach, kale, beet greens, turnip tops etc)
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- ⅓ cup nuts (eg cashews, walnuts, macadamias, pine nuts) or seeds (eg pepitas, sunflower seeds) or a mix of both
- Extra virgin olive oil*
- Lemon juice or vinegar (white wine, red wine, apple cider, or a mix)
- Salt to taste
- Optional add ins - chilli flakes, spices (eg cumin, paprika)
- Add the nuts/seeds and garlic to a food processor and process until they resemble breadcrumbs.
- Add the herbs, greens, a generous pinch of salt (start with up to a teaspoon), and 2 - 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice/vinegar. If you are using chilli or spices, add these here too.
- Pulse until combined. Taste and ensure it tastes okay at this stage - you should be able to taste each of the elements. If you have used a lot of bitter greens at this point, you may wish to add more herbs to balance out the bitterness, or alternatively a little more lemon juice/vinegar. Also add more salt if required,
- Remove from the food processor and place into a jar. Pour over enough olive oil to cover, and then stir until combined. Taste again at this point and adjust the seasonings if required.
- Note that if you wish this to be runnier to be used as more of a salad dressing, you can add more oil here, or more lemon juice/vinegar if you feel it needs it. You could also thin with water, though be careful as this will also dilute the flavours.