I initially started thinking about looking at different products on the shelves as a result of the many questions I get asked in my nutrition centre. People have a tendency to bring in packets or jars that they have found and ask me whether they are ‘healthy’ or not. A few weeks ago, someone came in asking about pestos and, so this week, I’m going to concentrate on them.
Pestos can be a very quick and easy addition to your favourite meals. You can simply put a teaspoon on top of your chicken or fish after you have cooked it. Or you can add to your favourite pasta or rice dishes as an added flavour at the end.
Pestos are basically made up of a herb, usually basil, blended with oils, nuts and parmesan cheese. However, I often make my pestos with whatever glut of herbs I have in pots or if I have a bag of herbs going off down the bottom of the fridge!! There are also red pestos out there made from sun dried tomatoes.
The most important thing to look at when choosing pestos is the type of oil they use. Most good quality brands will use extra virgin olive oil as the oil of choice, which is one of the best quality oils to use. Oils that have been cold pressed means that a large amount of heat, light or air have not been used in the processing. With other oils on the market, such as normal olive oil, sunflower oils, vegetable oils, there is no guarantee about how these are processed and are often rancid. These rancid oils play havoc with weight, heart disease and inflammatory disorders.
I noticed when searching for pesto that the best on the market was Marks and Spencer’s pestos as they mostly contained extra virgin olive oil.
- 100g brown rice – washed and rinsed well
- 300g cherry tomatoes - halved
- 1 yellow pepper – chopped finely
- 3 spring onions
- 2 tablespoons of pesto
- Freshly cracked pepper
- To make rice, place in saucepan with double the amount of water, bring to boil, cover, and then simmer for 40 mins.
- Allow to cool and then mix with other ingredients. Serve with your favourite chicken or fish dish.
- Wheat free, gluten free, sugar free
- Serves 2