Pesto needn’t just be for those summery specials like basil and coriander, no, pesto can embrace all sorts of flavours and greenery, and this simple runner bean pesto makes a nice addition to the pesto palate.
Runner Bean Pesto
Autumn; season of golds, reds, bronze, copper and all shades of brown from deepest chocolate to softest ochre gold. Nature gearing up to go out into winter with a blaze and also fading of colour. There is no place for green. Oh yes there is! The last of my garden goodies, the runner beans. I just have to make some Runner Bean Pesto.
For a blast of bright green zingy freshness amidst the golds of autumn try this easy recipe for a light and tasty pesto that uses the end of season runners and gives them a new lease on life. You see pesto shouldn’t just be thought of in terms of basil only. You can make a pesto sauce out of all sorts of herbs and veggies. This runner bean pesto will put those mushy jars of store bought pesto into the shade.
What is Pesto?
Pesto comes from the Italian word meaning to pound. Because pesto is traditionally made in a pestle and mortar and pounded into a paste. Traditional pesto is made with basil, Parmesan (or other Italian hard cheese), pine nuts, garlic and olive oil.
What’s in this pesto?
Well obviously runner beans are involved in this tasty pesto instead of basil. I used 200g/7 oz of runner beans. Instead of pine nuts I have used almonds. I love the flavour of almonds and use them in a lot of my recipes for pesto. Apart from tastuing good they are a damn sight cheaper than pine nuts.
Other ingredients are Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, a couple of cloves of garlic and nice olive oil. Finally, don’t forget the salt and pepper too of course.
How to make runner bean pesto
You will have to top and tail the beans and string them first if they are aged at all. This just means running a potato peeler down either side and removing a slither of skin and any stringiness that comes away. Then just chop up the beans as you like.
Pop them into a small pan and just cover with water and add a pinch of salt. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes maximum. Then remove from heat and drain, running under cold water to keep their lovely bright green colour.
Allow to cool and then toss into your food processor along with 2 cloves of garlic, 4 tablespoons of toasted and chopped almonds, 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and a good squeeze of lemon juice.
Whizz until smooth and add salt and pepper to taste and add enough olive oil to get the sort of consistency you like. I like my pesto firm enough to use on a crostini like a spread rather than a really runny saucy consistancy. The choice is yours.
Scoop the pesto into a sterilised jar and cover with more olive oil and a lid.
How to store pesto
Store in the fridge for up to a week. To keep it nice and green make sure that you top it up with a little olive oil each time you use it. This stops it oxidising on the top and going darker.
Can you freeze pesto?
Yes you can. But quite honestly it is better frozen without the cheese added. If you are making a lot of this runner bean pesto for freezing then simply freeze batches before adding the Parmesan cheese. Remember to clearly label your freezer bags/containers and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can actually freeze this pesto in ice cube trays and once solid decant into a freezer bag.
How to serve pesto
Use your runner bean pesto on toasts, mixed into a plain pasta, spooned into a bowl of veggie soup, or as a condiment on the side of your plate with chicken salad or ham. A little pop of green goodness in contrast to all the browns and golds of autumn.
I have to admit I am slightly obsessed with pesto. In fact I even wrote a book about it A Passion For Pesto. In it I share over 50 recipes for all types of pesto from herb pestos to veggie pestos. I make pesto from weeds and even sweet pesto made from fruits for desserts.
Here are just a couple of pesto recipes you might like to try. If you want more pesto inspiration then check out my Perfect Pesto Collection. If that isn’t enough, then go buy my ebook A Passion For Pesto.
Finally, if you try this recipe for runner bean pesto then do leave a comment/rating below. I love hearing from readers and respond to everyone as fast as I can. Want more Larder Love, then follow me on Instagram and Facebook and sign up for my free weekly newsletter too.
Runner Bean Pesto
- 200 g/7 oz runner beans chopped
- 2 cloves garlic peeled
- 2 tablespoons toasted chopped almonds
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
- squeeze of lemon juice
- olive oil
- salt & pepper
- Put the chopped beans into a pan with enough water to cover.
- Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat, drain and run under cold water, allow to cool.
- Whizz together the cooked beans, garlic, parmesan, almonds and lemon juice till you have a smooth paste.
- Add the salt and pepper to taste and enough olive oil to get the consistancy of pesto that you prefer.
- Scoop into a jar and cover with more olive oil and pop on a lid.
- Will keep in fridge for up to a week or freeze for up to 3 months.
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