This fantastic twist on the classic basil pesto we all know and loves come courtesy of the ‘Cooking for health’ course that I started at the College of Naturopathic Medicine in London earlier this year. Sadly I missed the lecture on Immune boosting foods due to a work trip so thought the best place to search for a recipe to reproduce on the blog would be something from that week. I haven’t had a cold yet in 2013, so I hope this means my immune system is already top notch. Nevertheless we could all do with added support to ward off infections!
Here is an excerpt from my lecture notes, stating what’s so great about oregano:
“As an immune stimulant, Oregano is king of herbs as proven by Polish researchers who tested 70 varieties of plants and found Oregano to be the one with the most significant immune boosting powers. It is a powerful antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal herb too. Fresh oregano is best, but the dried herb still has beneficial properties. It tastes great added to Italian dishes just before serving or sprinkled over salads”
I’ve waited weeks for fresh oregano to be available in the shops, and on my first big shopping trip after the installation of my kitchen (sorry will stop going on about this soon) it finally was. A taste of the oregano, pinched straight from the pot, immediately reminded me of many a fantastic meal I’ve had in Italy. I love how tastes and smells can evoke such memories. This pesto was going to be awesome.
I served my pesto stirred through courgette ‘spaghetti’, with a pan-fried fillet of wild salmon and some additional dressed green rocket leaves.
Oregano pesto recipe courtesy of Holly Taylor, our CNM course lecturer, nutritionist and freelance chef.
- 1 cup of fresh oregano leaves (approx 25g)
- 1 large garlic clove
- 60 of sunflower seeds (I actually used a mixture of pumpkin and sunflower, and soaked them overnight first)
- 120mls of olive oil
- Pinch of Himalayan salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Rinse the oregano well and squeeze out any excess water
- Place the oregano, garlic, sunflower seeds and half the olive oil in a tall jug and blend to a coarse paste using a hand blender
- Stir in the remaining olive oil and season to taste.
Note: Since I’m currently following a low-fodmap diet, which doesn’t include munching on whole garlic cloves. I omitted the garlic, and instead used 120mls of a garlic infused olive oil.
To create my salmon meal for 2 people stir 2 Tablespoons of the pesto through courgette spaghetti, which had first been lightly fried for 5 mins in some ghee. Top with a pan fried fillet of Wild Salmon, and drizzle with extra pesto if desired.
The pesto will keep in a sealed container for a few days in the fridge, and may need pepping up with extra oil over time. If the leaves/seeds discolour then just stir back in.