• Difficulty Easy


Dinner for the whole family in 10 minutes!

Time slips like mercury through my fingers every day. It seems I just get up, do some washing, have a play and then it’s lunchtime. I just clean that away, do some more washing and then it’s dinner.

Time. It seems to mock me daily.

Don’t know about your house, but there never seems to be enough of it in mine.

The washing is endless, the tidying is boundless, and the little voices in my head (no, not those ones, my kids incessant chatter) are never-ending.

It can be exhaustipating (may not be an actual word, but who’s counting?’.

I love eating, and for the most part, I love cooking, but there are some days where I simply don’t wanna. I’m spent.

My favourite kind of food is the kind that everyone in the house will eat with minimal fuss.
Sometimes, I don’t mind making a little dinner for my toddler and then cooking separately for us grown up type people, but then there are those days where time, and perhaps mojo, is not on your side and you need a super quick option that leaves everyone happy.

First prize is something everyone can eat.


This pesto is exactly that meal.

I don’t love it because it’s versatile, and can be stirred through mayo to dress a salad or smear on a sandwich, and I don’t love it because it keeps nicely when refrigerated or frozen. I love it because my kids love it and it takes 5 minutes to prepare.

By the time the water for the pasta has boiled my pesto is ready and we’re ready to eat.

I also freeze portions of the pesto and pull it out as I need it.

Pesto is fabulous dolloped onto grilled fish or chicken, or stirred through freshly boiled potatoes with a squeeze of lemon for a new take on potato salad with much less fat.

Traditionally, pesto is basil with garlic and pine nuts and parmesan, but I’ve discovered that with enough basil and parmesan you can disguise most green vegetables so it’s a brilliant way to get in some sneaky vegetables to fussy kids.

Raw food is incredibly important for the human body so I often don’t bother cooking what I blitz, although if you wanted to blanch quickly, that works too. If you’re concerned about pasta due to wheat intolerance, there are many alternatives available at the supermarket these days – quinoa, rice and corn is a great combo that has fabulous nutritional qualities.

I’m writing this as a toddler meal, but on busy weeknights I’ve most certainly been known to buy some good quality spinach and ricotta ravioli and crisp up some pancetta and serve this to us tall people for dinner. It’s seriously so fast and easy….and most importantly, delicious.

NOTE : If basil is too expensive or strong tasting for your bub, you can substitute parsley or rocket. The added bonus of this is a monster iron hit, too.

Time : 5 minutes

Yield : 4 toddler serves or 2 adult and 1 toddler serve


  • 2 big handfuls fresh, yummy basil
  • 1 handful or rocket or baby spinach
  • 50g good quality parmesan
  • 30g nuts – pine nuts, almonds and walnuts work for me
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Small handful of choice of veg – sugar snap peas, broccoli, zucchini combo
  • 90ml good olive oil
  • Penne to serve


  1. Place all ingredients into a mini food processor, or a blender or container to blitz with hand held Kitchen Wizz wand thing. Blitz it until a paste forms.
  2. You want it to be luscious, not gluggy, so add a little water, if needed, until it’s like a thick sauce.
  3. Meanwhile, boil your pasta. At the last minute, I also throw into my pasta water some cubed carrots and cauliflower as this gets devoured when smothered in pesto.
  4. Drain pasta, add a couple of spoons of pesto and serve. You can also add tinned tuna, cooked chicken, cherry tomatoes or whatever you have for variety on the theme.


  • Basil doesnt work for mew sadly


  • Sounds and looks great – if only I could use your lovely recipe. Unfortunately the greens, parmesan and pine nuts are all no-no’s to those on dialysis like my husband. But will keep your recipe in my cookbook for a later time of my life. Thanks so much for sharing.


  • So simple and tasty! Do recommend trying


  • Yum but will have to just be for me as my partner is allergic to nuts


  • Very simple


  • Lovely dinner recipe.


  • I love anything with pesto in it, this Green Vegetable And Basil Pesto Recipe is going in my cookbook. Thanks Anneevelyn.


  • I love basil pesto and this would be one of my favourite pasta meals.


  • A gorgeous pasta meal l would be happy to eat! Thanks!


  • My kids could live on pesto every day


  • Love this it looks very tasty indeed


  • I love presenting delicious and green food because the pop of colour is always so enticing.


  • It looks so nice and healthy! Well done!!


  • Love a quick yummy meal like this. Thanks.


  • This sounds really good thanks Danielle!


  • Definitely another great way to smuggle extra veggies into the kids!!


  • Sounds good, but hubby had a bad experience with pesto and wont touch it.


  • Totally love this one


  • Looks fantastic, I’ll definitely add this to our recipe book.


  • so easy!


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