Pesto lasts well and can be made fairly quickly- it’s also easy to change ingredients around depending of what you have. Try making your own version with favourite herbs. Letting children add their own toppings is a great way to get them eating and thinking about combining foods.
2 tablespoon tomato puree (I use cherry tomato and basil puree)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts or almonds
Handful of fresh basil (at least 10 leaves)
3 mint leaves or 1 tablespoon of dried mint.
a handful of watercress
Pinch of salt and black pepper
Put everything in a food processor and mix until smooth. If it is too thick add a little water and use a spoon to scoop around the edges before mixing again.
Serve with your favourite pasta with extra toppings to create the volcano effect. Store in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Tip- Save any glass jars from other food so you can reuse it. Let fussy eaters pick the toppings so that you are a step ahead in getting them to try a new food.
Did you know?
This pesto is dairy free and full of fresh nutritious ingredients. Watercress contains more than 15 essential vitamins and minerals- more vitamin c than oranges and more calcium than milk. Antioxidants such as zeaxanthin and lutein promote eye health and B vitamins help the cells in your body make energy.
Keeps for- up to 2 weeks in the fridge
* Freezable for up to 1 year
This is a sweet sauce and goes well with chicken and duck. It’s a good starting point for fussy eaters. Add some chopped chilli for older children and adults. Don’t forget to remove the seeds and wash your hands before rubbing your eyes!
Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the crushed garlic, sizzle for about a minute then stir in the spinach and cook for another minute.
Next add the mixture to a food processor with the rest of the ingredients and blitz until smooth.
Served with tomatoes and carrot and turmeric bread
This pesto is best left to sit for a while so that the flavours settle; use the baby leaf spinach as its less bitter than the more mature leaf. For best results make it the day before you need it.
Keeps for- up to 1 week in the fridge
*Freezable for up to 6 months
All my children love this: it’s their favourite and they ask for it all the time. What’s good about this sauce is that you can make it on the spot and stir it straight through some hot pasta. Add some shredded chicken or garlic prawns for a bigger meal.
few slices of Cheddar cheese and extra grated on top (optional)
400g-tin plum tomatoes
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sprinkle of salt and pepper (for children over 12 months)
To roast the pepper and carrot-Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/Gas 6. Cut the pepper in half and discard the stalk and seeds, chop the ends of the carrot, peel and halve. Place on a baking tray and roast for 30 minutes. Personally I don’t brush them peppers with oil, but you could.
Cook the pasta according to the package instructions.
Meanwhile, put all the other ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth.
Drain the cooked pasta and stir the sauce through before serving and top.
Adults may prefer to have their sauce heated first and for extra flavour to be added. Mixed herbs bump up the flavour, as do a few drops of tamari or chilli sauce.
* Left over sauce keeps for up to 5 days in the fridge
* Freezable for up to 6 months- but you must either blanch the carrot for 5 minutes or heat the sauce for 5 minutes if using it raw then leave to cool completely before freezing.
*You can also store and freeze the pasta but for best results freeze the sauce separately and make the pasta fresh for when you need it.