Pesto is such a staple in our house now. How did we live without it when we were kids? It is the most delicious condiment, not just for tossing through pasta for an easy mid-week meal (although of course that’s how it normally gets used up here), my daughter is obsessed with smearing a thick layer of pesto on toast for breakfast. Use it to stuff mushrooms, stir through boiled new potatoes or freshly steamed greens, add to sandwiches, dunk your chips in it… how else do you use pesto? We would love to hear your suggestions in the comments below.
I love that it’s a hit with the kids. It is beyond satisfying, watching them gleefully gobble up so many healthy ingredients. Nuts or seeds, raw herbs or other leafy greens like this kale version, olive oil, lemon juice, raw garlic… all super good! Home made pesto is the best-o. You’ve got to give it a try. For ease, use a food processor.
Ingredients (fills an old jam jar)
100g kale (or use a mix of kale and basil or any herbs or greens you like eg nettles, spinach, fennel fronds, parsley, dill…)
100g pumpkin seeds (or any nut or seed you prefer)
the juice of half a lemon (or a couple of tbsp of good vinegar)
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
a big pinch of salt
100ml olive oil
Place all the ingredients into a food processor but only half the olive oil.
Pulse until roughly combined then blend whilst drizzling in the other 50ml of olive oil until you achieve a beautiful pesto consistency – not too smooth.
Scoop out into a clean jar and refrigerate. Use within the week.
For mac’n’cheese, cauliflower/broccoli cheese, layers in lasagnes or moussakas, cheesy mushroom and leek pies and more… This instant powder is so useful to store in your pantry to whip up a quick mid-week meal. Just add oat milk and a little olive oil or melted vegan butter.
Measure all the ingredients into a jar and give it a good shake to evenly mix into a powder. If you don’t have mustard powder then leave it out and add dijon mustard or whatever mustard you like in the wet stage described in the next step.
In a measuring jug, pour 100ml of oat milk per person. Then whisk in 1 tbsp of the powder and 1 tbsp of good olive oil (or melted vegan butter) per person. If you mix doesn’t have mustard powder, add a tsp of Dijon mustard per person too.
Pour the mixture into a pot over a medium/low heat and whisk continuously until it is cooked through. It should be creamy, silky smooth and nice and thick. Taste and adjust the seasoning if you need to, then use the sauce however you like. Fold through cooked pasta, layer up in a lasagne or moussaka, pour over cooked mushrooms, leeks and butterbeans then top with pastry and bake… I always use this sauce for a cauliflower and broccoli cheese as part of our Sunday roast.
Halloween is long gone but pumpkins are still very much in season. Want some extra-flavoursome pumpkins? Add a few of our kuri squashes to your next order. But, if you’ve got some decorative pumpkins with tough skins that still need eating, cut them in half, scoop out the seeds and roast until soft. Then scoop out the flesh and make this tasty risotto. Risotto is the perfect one-pot, soothing, feed-a-crowd, mid-week-meal don’t you think?
Ingredients (serves 6)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
2 onions, peeled and diced
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and diced
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp thyme
400g risotto rice
the juice of a lemon or a large glass of white wine
700g roasted pumpkin
2 stock cubes dissolved in 1 lite of just-boiled water
salt and pepper to taste
nutritional yeast, pumpkin seeds and more olive oil to serve
Heat the oil and butter in a wide, heavy bottomed pan/pot.
Add the diced onion and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon until soft and starting to turn golden brown.
Then add the garlic, bay leaves and thyme and stir until fragrant.
Pour the rice into the pan and stir to coat it in the flavours and fat. Then add the lemon juice or white wine. Stir for a minute or so until the pan is nearly dry again.
Start adding the vegetable stock, a ladle at a time, stirring pretty constantly until the stock is nearly all absorbed before adding the next ladle.
Once half the stock is used up, add the roasted pumpkin and stir it in with another ladle of stock. Use the back of the wooden spoon to smoosh the pumpkin into a rough purée as you go. Keep adding stock until the rice is cooked through and creamy. You may run out and need to add water.
Taste the risotto and adjust the seasoning if needed with salt and pepper. Then serve with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast and pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of good, peppery olive oil.
Having a good béchamel sauce in your repertoire is so useful. I bring this sauce out really regularly for weekday dinners like macaroni cheese, for cauliflower or broccoli cheese for a Sunday roast (or a combination cauliflower/broccoli/macaroni cheese is SO good). I use it for the cheesy, creamy layer in lasagnes and moussakas and I use it for creamy mushroom, leek and white bean pies topped with pastry or mash. This vegan version (made with nutritional yeast instead of cheese, creamy oat milk instead of cow milk and some delicious olive oil instead of butter) is so delicious, nutritious and really quick and easy to put together. Simply whisk the ingredients together cold. Then put the pot over a medium heat and whisk and cook it into a thick sauce! How do you use béchamel sauce?
150g plain flour (wheat, spelt or even a gluten free plain-flour blend all work)
20g nutritional yeast (or more to taste)
6 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 litre oat milk (or any unsweetened plant milk you like)
Measure all the ingredients into a cold pan and whisk them together.
Put the pan onto a medium heat and cook and whisk slowly until it thickens into a creamy sauce.
Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed with more salt and pepper or more nutritional yeast if you want a cheesier flavour.
It’s that simple! Now stir through cooked pasta or cauliflower or broccoli and bake until bubbling and golden on top. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and more nutritional yeast for a golden crunchy topping? Or spoon between layers of lasagne sheets and ragu for a gorgeous lasagne. Fold through sautéed mushrooms and leeks, stir in a drained tin of white beans and top with pastry or mash for a cosy, creamy pie…
This pasta dish has fresh spring/summer vibes. It’s one of our favourites and a great way to use up all the gorgeous greens coming out of the farm at the moment. We stock a large range of organic pastas, I like tagliatelle for this one, but of course any pasta shape will work well.
Ingredients (serves 4-5)
2 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp butter
2 leeks, sliced and rinsed
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tbsp dijon mustard
3 tbsp plain flour
3 tbsp nutritional yeast (or sub with grated/crumbled cheese of your choice)
a splash of white wine
oat milk – enough to cook out the flour and make a creamy sauce
The new season kale coming out of our fields and tunnels is so stunning! We are adding it to all our meals. Don’t forget to add some to your next order! Here’s a quick and easy kale pesto recipe which is so handy, not just for pesto pasta, but for sandwiches and wraps, to spread on toast and top with scrambled egg/tofu, to toss through freshly boiled new potatoes… My recipe is dairy and nut free to make it allergen friendly (I use pumpkin seeds which are incredibly nutritious and ours come in compostable bags), but as always, tweak it to your liking with different nuts/seeds and cheese. And do share how you love to eat your pesto in the comments below.
Ingredients (makes a jar like the one pictured above)
100g kale – rinsed
100g pumpkin seeds – toasted
1 clove of garlic – peeled
1 pinch of salt
1/2 a lemon – zest and juice
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
100ml extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for a thin layer on top at the end)
Put all the ingredients into a blender or food processor.
Pulse until the ingredients come together into a rough, textured sauce.
Taste for seasoning and add more olive oil, lemon juice or salt as desired.
Spoon into a clean jar and top with a layer of olive oil to keep it fresher for longer.
Keep in the fridge and use within a week, or freeze for longer storage.
Brr! Spring is here but there are still some pretty chilly spells. Who got that day of blazing sunshine interspersed with freezing hail storms the other day? These erratic-weather days call for a steaming bowl of comforting risotto.
You can’t go wrong with risottos, they are the best way to celebrate and capture the essence of a season. Oozy, umami-rich mushroom risotto is perfect in Autumn, but in Spring I want verdant green colours and bright herby flavours! So here’s my latest creation, an asparagus, courgette and cherry tomato risotto with pesto stirred through just before serving. Light and bright enough to shout ‘Spring!’ But cosy and comforting enough to make you forget about being caught in that hail storm earlier.
Add the ingredients to your next order from Green Earth Organics here. We deliver to every address in Ireland. Liz x
Ingredients (serves 4)
2 sticks of celery
3 handfuls of cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 mug of risotto rice
1 stock cube
1 bundle of asparagus
1 lemon (zest and juice)
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 heaped tbsp pesto
toasted nuts/seeds to serve
Dice the celery and courgette and soften in a large pot with the olive oil over a medium-high heat. (You could also add diced onions and garlic for extra flavour).
Halve the cherry tomatoes and add them to the pot along with the mug of rice and stir well.
Snap the woody ends off the asparagus and pop them in the compost bin or in a freezer box to make stock with another time. Then slice off the asparagus tips (a couple of inches from each spear) and put to one side to use at the end. The middle part of the asparagus spears can be sliced into slim rounds and added to the pot now.
Crumble in the stock cube and add a mug of water to the pot. Stir and simmer until the water has been absorbed by the rice.
Add the zest and juice of the lemon and another mug of water. Stir and simmer agin until the liquid has been absorbed. Then add more water, half a mug at a time, until the rice is cooked through but still retains a little bite.
Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Then add the asparagus tips and simmer for just 3 minutes or so until they are just cooked through, bright green and still crunchy.
Just before serving, stir through the nutritional yeast and pesto to add brightness, herby flavour and cheesy richness to the dish.
Serve in warm bowl with toasted nuts/seeds scattered over each bowl. Enjoy under a cosy blanket on the sofa watching your favourite film!
We all have those days when we really really can’t be bothered to cook. Ordering a takeaway is such a nice treat, but it can take forever to arrive and be quite pricey. So on those days where you have no energy and your family is hangry, there’s always our ready made organic sauces for a bit of a shortcut. Look out for my ‘fast fakeaway’ recipes (if they can even be called recipes) using our range of organic, ready made sauces. I promise they are all super simple and extraordinarily tasty!
First up is this simple spaghetti with lentil ragu. This meal serves 4 or 5 people generously, takes less than 15 minutes and costs under €7 to put together.
One of the most common ingredients that get wasted are salad leaves. The mixed bags of salad leaves really don’t stay fresh long, really they should be eaten within 3 days. So if you don’t get around to eating a salad, perhaps the weather changed and you were more in the mood for a hot meal, there are a few ways you can use them up in a different way. Whatever you do, don’t throw that bag of slightly sad looking leaves away! Salad leaves can be blended into a soup in place of spinach or watercress or make this very flexible salad bag pesto! If you have any fresh herbs around the place, chuck some of those in too.
Read more about food waste in my blog post on the subject here. Liz x
mixed salad leaves (and odds an ends of fresh herbs if available)
sunflower and pumpkin seeds (or any nuts or seeds you like)
nutritional yeast (or odds and ends of cheese)
I’ve deliberated not given amounts as pesto is a very fluid recipe. You can taste and adjust it as you go. You should aim to have around half the volume of the mixture as nuts or seeds. So if you have about a mug full of salad leaves that need using, toast about half a mug of nuts or seeds.
Toast the nuts or seeds in a dry frying pan to bring out their flavour. Allow them to cool.
The put them in a food processor. I used a blender because my food processor is broken – it works ok but I prefer a food processor for pesto because I don’t want the mixture to be too smooth in the end.
Add a crushed or grated glove of garlic, a shake of nutritional yeast, a big pinch of salt and all the salad leaves.
Then add lemon juice (you can add the zest of the lemon too if you like, or save it in the freezer for something else). Start with a small amount of lemon juice, you can always add more later.
Add a very generous amount of olive oil. A quality extra virgin olive oil is best for pesto.
Pulse the mixture, scrape down the sides and pulse again until you reach a loose, rough paste. Add more olive oil as you go if needed.
Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt of lemon juice as you like. Then store in a clean jar in the fridge. To make it last longer, cover it with a thin layer of olive oil to protect it from the air. Use it up within a week.
Pesto is not just for pasta! Use it for a dip, stir it into hummus or mayo, spread it into wraps or sandwiches, toss it through roasted veg or steamed greens, dollop it on your grainy salads…
Introducing the slightly more laborious, but much more exciting cousin of macaroni cheese! Béchamel Baked Butternut Gnocchi! This is comfort food at it’s finest.
My vegan béchamel sauce is very simple to put together, and for this I’ve simply whisked it up and poured it over sautéed celery and leek. Then I popped in lots of freshly boiled butternut gnocchi (not as tricky to make as it seems), scattered over some tangy capers and crushed pumpkin seeds and baked it until the béchamel was bubbling and thickened! I got some gorgeous cherry tomatoes in my box last week so I placed them on top to roast in the oven. Their bright acidity is the perfect foil to the creamy richness of the béchamel and gnocchi.
I’d love to see your photos if you make this dish. Share them with us over on our friendly facebook group or tag us @greenearthorganics1 on Instagram and don’t forget to share this blog post with your friends. Liz x
enough plain flour to bring it into a dough (this varies depending on the water content and size of your squash)
salt, pepper and optional herbs or spices (sage/rosemary/thyme/chilli flakes…)
Pre-heat your oven to 200C.
Cut a small butternut squash in half, scoop out the seeds and bake it – cut side down – in a hot oven (200C) until the flesh is soft all the way through. Test it with a small knife, it should easily slide into the soft, roasted butternut. (This normally takes 30 minutes or so. While it’s in the oven, get on with the sauce and preparing the toppings below.)
Allow the squash to cool to the point where you can easily handle it, then scoop out all the roasted flesh and mash or blend it into a smooth purée.
Find your biggest pot, 2/3rds fill it with water and get it on the stove to heat up to a rolling boil while you make the gnocchi.
Season the purée with salt and pepper and taste to check the seasoning. It should be slightly too salty as you are going to fold in a fair bit of flour. You can also add optional extra flavours at this stage. For example chilli flakes and sage or rosemary and lemon zest… or just leave it plain, that’s delicious too!
Then stir in enough flour to turn the purée into a soft dough. You can use plain flour (make sure there are no raising agents in it) or strong bread flour or even a gluten free plain flour blend. Gnocchi works best with white flour rather than wholemeal.
The amount of flour varies depending on the size and moisture content of your squash. Just start with a mug or so, gently fold it in and keep going until it’s the right consistency to be tipped out onto a floured work surface and very briefly kneaded. You want to work it as little as possible to keep it tender, but just enough to bring it together into a manageable ball of dough. It should be soft and sticky, get a helper to keep dusting the work surface and your hands with flour to make it more manageable.
Cut the ball of dough into 4, then roll one of the quarters into a thick snake. Chop the snake into little bites. If you want to make little traditional looking grooves in the gnocchi you can stamp each bite with a fork or you can roll them over a gnocchi board if you have one… or simply roll them into balls.
Then drop the gnocchi into the now boiling water in batches. Gently loosen them from the bottom of the pot with a slotted spoon. When they rise to the top of the water they are done and can be scooped out and placed in the sauce below. I do them in batches of one snake at a time, then while that batch is boiling I get the next snake ready.
Keep going until all your gnocchi dough is used up. If you make too much for the bake, then you can cool down and keep the excess boiled gnocchi in the fridge/freezer and use it another day (pan fry it with a little olive oil or butter and serve with pesto and salad?)
In an oven and hob safe, large, wide pan, sauté the sliced celery, leek and garlic with the butter or olive oil and some salt and pepper until soft. Then turn off the heat. (If you don’t have an oven and hob safe large dish like this, you can just sauté the veg and tip it into a roasting tray instead.)
Then whisk the flour, milk, mustard, nutritional yeast, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a large jug or mixing bowl and pour the mixture over the sautéed celery and leeks.
Boil the gnocchi in batches as above and pop them into the dish on top of the sauce.
In a small blender or large pestle and mortar, crush/blend the handful of pumpkin seeds with a small handful of nutritional yeast for a crunchy, savoury topping. Scatter this over the gnocchi and sauce.
Sprinkle over the capers and cherry tomatoes then pop the dish into the oven (with an optional drizzle of olive oil) to bake until the gnocchi are burnished golden brown and the sauce is thick and bubbling. This should take around 20-30 minutes.
Serve with a simple green salad and an ice cold glass of white wine and enjoy!