Pea pesto is perfect for the summer: quick and light and surprisingly versatile. It takes 10 minutes to whip up a batch and can be used on pasta, crispbreads or as a dip. Read on for this family-friendly recipe from food writer and blogger Adrienne Katz Kennedy…
Adrienne Katz Kennedy is a food writer and blogs at Season and Spout. She lives in Kingston-upon-Thames with her husband and their two daughters.
Pesto ticks pretty much all of the boxes when it comes to an ideal ‘family friendly’ meal. Quick and easy to make, effective way to get in good fats and extra vegetables, and it’s versatile.
Plus, you can spend just 10 minutes whipping up a batch from scratch, smugly pop it into a sealed jar or Tupperware and use it over and over again. For at least a week – depending on its contents. Each time congratulating yourself for bucking the system and making it yourself. It certainly helps to balance out the nights where frozen fish fingers or a bowl of cereal is the cuisine de jour.
We’ve pretty much taken to playing a weekly game of ‘guess that pesto’ in our house. Broccoli, classic basil, spinach and avocado (think Italian Guacamole) have all made the line up. And now possibly the most delicious one of them all has been discovered – pea.
This is the perfect summer pesto.
It’s quick and light and surprisingly versatile. Time-wise, we are talking 10 minutes in total – maybe 15 if you have a kid balanced on your hip or tugging at your leg or you’re trying to fit in the last few work tasks before you double over with hanger.
If you’re growing mint, basil or even peas then it’s almost put together for you right outside in your garden.
We’ve enjoyed this pesto spread across thinly rolled out pizza dough then topped with crumbled feta cheese or slices of halloumi, along with an additional drizzle of olive oil and lemon, then baked or grilled in the oven. The salty cheese really helps to highlight the sweetness from the peas.
We’ve also mixed this into angel hair pasta, topped with a small handful of crispy bits of bacon or extra parmesan (or both). And when it got brutally hot last month and the idea of cooking anything was just too much, I whizzed some up and then slathered it on a flat crispbread, with a swipe of Greek yoghurt a sprinkle of some fresh peas for texture. Simple, fresh, seasonal, and highly addictive.
Summery Pea Pesto
150g or 1 ½ cups (shelled) peas – fresh if you have, but frozen is just fine too
½ – 1 lemon, juiced *depending on taste preferences
clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp. capers
1 small handful basil leaves
1 small handful mint leaves
60ml or ¼ cup water
olive oil – drizzled in whilst blending for desired thickness
If using fresh peas, cook them in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. They don’t take long. If using frozen peas, just thaw them out first, no need to boil them.
Pop peas followed by everything else save the oil into the blender then whizz away for a minute or so until all of your ingredients start to combine. Whilst the blender is still running (hopefully your lid has a little removable hole in it – otherwise you’ll have to stop and start this) slowly drizzle in your oil until you have a smooth consistency, to your desired thickness.
If you keep this on the thicker side it makes for a great dip and spread. Then later on, if you’re planning to serve this with pasta I highly recommend reserving some of your pasta water and adding it to the pesto to thin it out a bit.
Do you have other quick, easy, family-friendly recipes that you’ve been enjoying this summer?