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Cannellini Bean Pesto – Yummy as a Dip or Pasta Sauce!

Cannellini Bean Pesto

Cannellini Bean Pesto Dip

My husband and I both love pesto sauce with our pasta but up until a few weeks ago I’d never made it at home, so my daughters hadn’t tried it before. I set about following a standard pesto recipe but wanted to sneak in some extra protein, hence the introduction of the cannellini beans. My kids and my husband were none the wiser…until now I guess!

The result was a nice thick pesto that could serve as a healthy dip, or you could thin it out like I did with a little water to stir through your favourite warm pasta. We had it with some wholegrain penne and chopped cherry tomatoes – it even tastes great cold (I had left-overs the next day), so an easy recipe for a picnic or bbq side.


45g vegan parmesan cheese

⅓ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

2 organic garlic cloves

1 ½ cups packed organic basil leaves

½ tsp pink magnesium salt

½ cup cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil

400g can organic cannellini beans, rinsed


Pulse chop the parmesan 5 times in a food processor, then process continuously until ground. Reserve in a bowl. Pulse chop the pine nuts 5 times in the food processor and reserve with the parmesan.

Process the garlic for 5 seconds in a food processor with the salt, scrape the sides of the processor bowl then add the basil leaves and half of the olive oil. Pulse grind about 10 times then scrape the bowl and process well (about 15 seconds). Add the cannellini beans and process until smooth. With the processor running continuously, slowly add the remaining olive oil in a steady stream. After all the oil is added, process well for an additional 10-15 seconds.

Add the reserved parmesan and pine nuts and pulse process 10 times to combine. If using as a dip, transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with extra toasted pine nuts and a sprig of basil. The dip will keep for 2-3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. If using as a pasta sauce, you will most likely need to add about ½ to ⅓ cup of water to thin it out before stirring through your warm pasta.

Serves 2 adults and 2 small kids as a delicious pasta sauce.

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