Rocking rocket pesto

In January, I blogged about an initially suspicious, but ultimately yummy food waste soup I made to use up the dregs of the vegetables in my fridge. The soup included half a packet of pretty limp salad, which I chucked into the soup along with everything else and hoped for the best.

I don’t often toot my own trumpet, but I can confidently say that my kitchen produces miniscule amounts food waste and I’m always conscious of how quickly bagged salads can start to turn, so I try and gobble them up before they do. I buy rocket and rocket/watercress/spinach mixes most often, as a way of avoiding frilly, bitter lettuce varieties and completely tasteless Iceberg. I have yet to figure out the point of Iceberg lettuce.

Having been away last weekend, I came home to find my half opened packet of rocket had already reached that soggy, slightly smelly, ‘Yeh…I’m not eating that’ stage. After prodding it a bit, I decided it was probably fine to use in my salad for lunch the next day (yes, I will eat virtually anything and yes, I do regularly eat around mould), but then had a change of heart. It really was limp. And a bit pongy.


But there was no way I was going to throw out half a packet of rocket, soggy or not. I toyed with repeating my soup experiment with rocket until I remembered I’d come across several recipes for rocket pesto. I looked up a couple on the internet and then reached for my new whizzy blender thing. I was so glad I did – it turned out great!

This is what I put into my pesto, but I’m never too precise with quantities with things like this, as I think it’s better to just taste and adjust as you go along.

  • Half a bag of past its best rocket
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Clove of garlic
  • Generous handful of toasted pine nuts (I’ve finally learnt how to toast them, not burn them!)
  • Olive oil
  • Basil leaves (no idea how much but maybe a 3:1 ratio of rocket to basil)
  • A large dollop of soft cheese (I didn’t have parmesan)

All you need to do is chuck everything into the blender until it’s mixed but still has some texture. I don’t like my pesto and dips too oily, so the soft cheese ended up working quite well to add ‘liquid’ in place of some of the olive oil, though didn’t have as strong a taste as parmesan would have. I didn’t take a photo, but it looked something like this one I’ve stolen from the internet:


I’d never made pesto before, but it was so ridiculously easy and tasted so good (plus lasted a few meals) that I’m now a pesto convert. I would totally recommend using up rocket that’s past its prime by turning it into pesto, rather than throwing it away. It’s so satisfying to make something yummy out of food destined for the bin!


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