Traditional Italian pesto is made strictly with basil, pine nuts, Parmesan, garlic, and olive oil. But if you’ve come across Buzzfeed’s post on pesto, you’d realize that you can switch out basil for any herb or greens you have on hand and replace the pine nuts or eliminate it all together, as Whitney Biber has done in her 3-ingredient pesto recipe. I’ve made cilantro pesto before, since I had leftover herbs from making chimichurri sauce.
But, let’s be real, basil isn’t exactly affordable. I got the idea from a friend, who made pesto using moringa leaves or malunggay. Her homemade moringa pesto smelled heavenly, thanks to the garlic.
Turns out, you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy good pesto. Malunggay is really cheap and it grows in many backyards here in the Philippines. I live in the city so I don’t have free access to it, but it costs less than P15 in the supermarket. Apart from being really affordable, malunggay has tons of health benefits, so it’s a great way to sneak in vegetables into your diet.
My version has twice the amount of garlic classic pesto recipes use, and it doesn’t have nuts. Skipped the cheese, too, since I like adding that to a dish separately.
I used my moringa pesto to make chicken pesto and mushroom wraps. Yes, being the cheapskate that I am, I tried to make my own version of Starbucks Roasted Chicken Pesto and Shitake Mushroom on Flat Bread. There are a lot of things you can do with pesto. You can add it to sandwiches, toss it in with some pasta, and even add it to dips! So, yes, go and enjoy your pesto because you deserve it.
Would you try this one out? I’d love to hear your comments.