Easy Green Vegetable and Basil Pesto: Dinner for the whole family in 10 minutes

Guest Post by Danielle from Keeping Up With the Holsbys

Danielle from Keeping Up With the Holsbys always amazes me with her yummy recipes and energy for life.  Check out her gorgeous Giggle and Hoot Cake and Easy Playdough Recipe here on Be A Fun Mum, and head to her blog for more good stuff.

green vegetable and basil pesto recipe

My favourite kind of food is the kind that everyone in the house will eat with minimal fuss.  Most of the time, I don’t mind making a little dinner for my toddler and then cooking separately for us grown up type people, but then there are those days where time, and perhaps mojo,  is not on your side and you need a super quick option that leaves everyone happy.

This pesto is exactly that meal.

I don’t love it because it’s versatile, and can be stirred through mayo to dress a salad or smear on a sandwich, and I don’t love it because it keeps nicely when refrigerated or frozen. I love it because my son, D Man loves it and it takes 5 minutes to prepare.

By the time the water for the pasta has boiled my pesto is ready and we’re ready to eat.

I also freeze portions of my the pesto and pull it out as I need it.

Pesto is fabulous dolloped onto grilled fish or chicken, or stirred through freshly boiled potatoes with a squeeze of lemon for a new take on potato salad with much less fat.

Traditionally, pesto is basil with garlic and pine nuts and parmesan, but I’ve discovered that with enough basil and parmesan you can disguise most green vegetables so it’s a brilliant way to get in some sneaky vegetables to fussy kids.

Raw food is incredibly important for the human body so I often don’t bother cooking what I blitz, although if you wanted to blanch quickly, that works too. If you’re concerned about pasta due to wheat intolerance, there are many alternatives available at the supermarket these days – quinoa, rice and corn is a great combo that has fabulous nutritional qualities.

I’m writing this as a toddler meal, but on busy weeknights I’ve most certainly been known to buy some good quality spinach and ricotta ravioli and crisp up some pancetta and serve this to us tall people for dinner. It’s seriously so fast and easy…and most importantly, delicious.

Easy Green Vegetable and Basil Pesto Recipe

(Dinner for the whole family in 10 minutes)

green vegetable and basil pesto recipe

NOTE : If basil is too expensive or strong tasting for your bub, you can substitute parsley. The added bonus of this is a monster iron hit, too.

Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 4 toddler serves or 2 adult and 1 toddler serve


2 big handfuls fresh, yummy basil

1 handful or rocket or baby spinach

50g good quality parmesan

30g nuts – pine nuts, almonds and walnuts work for me

1 clove garlic

Small handful of choice of veg – sugar snap peas, broccoli, zucchini combo

90ml good olive oil

Penne to serve


1. Place all ingredients into a mini food processor, or a blender or container to blitz with hand held Kitchen Wizz wand thing.

2. Blitz it until a paste forms.  You want it to be luscious, not gluggy, so add a little water, if needed, until it’s like a thick sauce.

3. Meanwhile, boil your pasta.

4. At the last minute, I also throw into my pasta water some cubed carrots and cauliflower as this gets devoured when smothered in pesto.

5. Drain pasta, add a couple of spoons of pesto and serve. You can also add tinned tuna, cooked chicken, cherry tomatoes or whatever you have for variety on the theme.

Printer Friendly: Easy Green Vegetable and Basil Pesto Recipe

green vegetable and basil pesto recipe


Easy Dinner Recipes

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Kelly loves life at both ends of the spectrum: wearing high heel shoes one day and hiking boots the next; sipping tea out of a pretty cup and slurping hot coffee from a camping mug; challenging herself physically and stopping for quiet unhurried moments to feel the wind on her face. Kelly and her husband Matthew seek to live a fun and adventurous life with their four children and pet bird.

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  1. Emily says

    Can you tell me about your mini whizzer please Danielle? (Or anyone else that has one they can recommend). My blender is huge and a small recipe like this would just get lost in the space under the blades. I dream of making small portions of pesto, or dip or whatever, especially due to food allergies which rule out commercially available options. Thanks!

  2. Karen (Scotland) says

    Thanks for this. Just made it and my super-fussy 5 year old and her three siblings finished their plates – I snuck in spinach, rocket, walnuts, cashews, almonds. I told her afterwards how it was full of good protein for her (she’ll eat any fruit and a lot of veg – it’s everything else we struggle with) and she was happy too.

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