By Amanda Cortens (@PeppersPennies)
WINNIPEG, Man. — Do you have any budget-friendly food swaps? Sometimes, we love a certain dish but just can’t justify making it. I am like that with pesto. I love a good, basic, pesto that is fresh and just the right consistency. However, the main ingredient in pesto; pine nuts, are just way too expensive for an average mid-week meal. I also feel that store-bought pestos always fall short of my expectations, making my meal fall flat.
To be more affordable, I developed a recipe that swaps out pine nuts for walnuts and expensive olive oil for Canadian canola oil. The result is a flavourful, although more mild pesto, that curbs the cravings! While walnuts won’t pack the same punch of pine nuts, it’s a great swap for consistency and the wallet! This also proves to be a more kid-friendly pesto that is great tossed on pasta or baked on chicken breasts. If you still want the strong flavours of a traditional pesto, I would increase the garlic and use a romano cheese blend over pure parmesan for a heartier kick.
Pesto doesn’t keep too well in the fridge due to the fresh basil. If you must, ensure you store your leftover pesto in an appropriately sized airtight container in the fridge for one day, max. Ideally, however, you should try to use it all up in one meal or make the sauce in smaller batches as not to be wasteful!