Cannons Creek School's Herb & Sunflower Pesto

This tasty pesto is lovely served with crackers, pita breads, flat breads or with carrot sticks. You can also add it to sandwiches, stir through pasta or dollop on top of a pizza! Pesto can be frozen in small containers for later use. Pesto means "to pound, to crush" in Italian. It's traditionally made with basil, pine nuts and parmesan cheese but you can make it out of other herbs and greens (e.g. spinach or rocket). Pine nuts can be expensive so other nuts or seeds can be used and you can use any semi-hard cheese instead of parmesan.


  • 3-4 cups herbs (packed fairly firmly) - e.g. parsley, coriander, basil, mint
  • 1-1.5 cups toasted sunflower seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped a little
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt, to taste
  • ½ cup parmesan or tasty cheddar cheese
  1. Toast sunflower seeds in a frypan until browned, stirring regularly so they don't burn - put aside in a bowl until cool.
  2. Pull the leaves off the herbs, removing stalks that you don't want to use (eg mint and basil stalks. Parsley and coriander stalks can be used.)
  3. Juice lemon.
  4. Peel & chop the garlic.
  5. Grate the cheese.
  6. Put the sunflower seeds in the food processor and pulse until they are rough crumbs.
  7. Add herbs, salt, lemon juice and garlic, whiz till finely chopped and blended. Add cheese, then pour in oil slowly while blending till the desired consistency.

Recipe supplied by Cannons Creek School.

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Cannons Creek School's Herb & Sunflower Pesto Comments

  • Yummmo

    Michelle te whare

  • Is cheese a vital ingredient? Dairy intolerant folk here!

    A Duffy

  • Hi there, cheese is a usual ingredient in pesto but you could try it without - let us know how it turns out! Thanks, Tui Team.