Basil Pesto – Low FODMAP & Gluten Free

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I always like to have a jar of pesto around, and nothing beats homemade basil pesto. Except this year, when I made my pesto from basil that I grew out on our balcony! Quite a feat without a back yard but it just goes to show, it can be done! I’m lucky enough to have a balcony, I know someone who has managed to grow peppers inside, next to a window. Kudos to her! I suppose you could top home grown basil with home grown pine nuts or if you owned a cow and could make your own Parmesan cheese… but let’s be realistic. Nobody is that good.

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FODMAP Notes

  1. Garlic infused olive oil is considered low FODMAP by Monash Uni – just make sure that, if you buy it, the brand you buy doesn’t contain any garlic bits. Those who are particularly sensitive may need to just use a good extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) instead. A tbsp. of lemon juice would add in some extra flavour.
  2. Store bought garlic infused oils vary in intensity of flavour, so, please use your discretion with how much you add to your pesto and replace the rest with a good quality extra virgin olive oil. I used homemade garlic olive oil for this recipe.
  3. Please use good quality oil, it makes all the difference in this oil-based sauce. Bad oil will leave a bad after taste, I can’t stress that enough. I’ve made that mistake before.
  4. This pesto recipe always changes slighlty, each time I make it. One year the basil might be more strongly flavoured than another, I might feel like adding a little more or less Parmesan cheese. If you make it and you want to add a little more salt, or a little extra oil to get the consistency that you prefer, go ahead. There is not a right or wrong way of doing this.
  5. Parmesan cheese is low FODMAP due to its lower lactose content, however it is not vegetarian, as it contains rennet. For a vegetarian version, use a rennet-free hard style cheese.

I apologise for the lack of step-by-step photos. I took them but I can’t find them anywhere!

Basil Pesto

Makes approx. 2 x pint sized jars of pesto sauce.

  • 3 well packed cups of fresh basil leaves
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil – more if you like a runnier pesto
  • 1/4 cup garlic infused olive oil
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • Salt to taste
  • A few drops of EVOO to cover it once in jars.

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Place the basil leaves, garlic-infused olive oil, pine nuts and salt in your food processor and blitz until smooth and well combined. This might take a little while, as depending on the quality of your food processor, you might need to add only half of the basil to begin with and let that process before you add the rest. Some blenders will struggle and just whiz a hole in the centre, while forcing everything to the outside. If this is the case, you will need to stop every now and again to push all the ingredients back into the bottom.

Once the processed mixture is finished, add in the freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese actually has a nice flavour and is quite soft, unlike pre-grated cheese. It’s well worth it. If your mixer has a “mix” setting, put the Parmesan in and turn it onto “mix” until it has combined evenly. Otherwise, fold it in yourself.

Scoop the now finished basil pesto into jars for storage, leaving 2 cm between the pesto and the top of the jar. Place a little bit of garlic-infused olive oil – maybe 5 mm in height – over the top of the pesto to seal it from the air. This helps it to keep longer. I freeze one jar and keep the in-use jar in the fridge.

Use it as a pasta sauce, a dip, a spread on a sandwich, on top of your poached eggs – the list goes on. It’s a very versatile sauce and a little goes a long way.

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