I love pesto, and the traditional stuff is perfectly perfect, but I really love non-traditional, inventive versions. Got some extra carrot-tops laying around? Have a surplus of almonds? No parmesan in the fridge? No worries. I’m all about substituting the traditional basil, pine nuts and parm version for riffs on the classic.
The best part about experimenting with pesto, is that it’s super easy to swap out ingredients. A basic pesto will typically include a fresh herb, nuts, cheese, citrus, salt and olive oil. What you use to satisfy those requirements is entirely up to you.
I’ve got a really good recipe for a Basil and Walnut Pesto, and I’ve long considered it to be my go-to for homemade pesto, but this Spicy Parsley and Feta version might have just edged it out to take the No.1 spot. It’s really refreshing and zippy, but it’s got tons of richness from the feta, which is creamy enough that I didn’t have to use any nuts in this recipe at all. I stuck with lemon juice for citrus, and salt for seasoning, but I added some crushed red chilis for a bit of heat, and it plays off the zippy, earthy parsley perfectly.
I ate this the day after I made it with my Spiced Lamb Kofta, and it was INSANELY tasty, but it would be equally delicious with pasta, over grilled chicken or fish, or just about any way you could find to use it. Here’s how to make it:
Spicy Parsley Pesto With Feta
- 1 bunch parsley stems removed
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/8 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2-3 tsp crushed red chili flakes
- juice of one half lemon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2-3/4 cup olive oil
Combine everything but the olive oil and cheese in a food processor and pulse to combine
When the ingredients look like pesto, begin to add the olive oil, drizzling it into the machine while continuously whirring the ingredients.
When you have your desired consistency (I like mine thick but still pourable), add the cheese and pulse until just combined. The cheese will thicken the sauce.
Add more olive oil, if desired.