Zero waste pesto

By Bob Blumer
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Bob Blumer creates a pesto pasta sauce with whatever you have in your fridge, making it a zero waste base for your meal, perfect for you and the family. You can use it for pasta, sandwiches, burgers, pizza sauce, chicken, corn and so many other ways!



Pesto Sauce

  • 2 cups (total) of celery tops, radish tops, turnip tops, fennel fronds, carrot tops, parsley or cilantro stems, or ideally a mixture of these
  • 4 tablespoons rescued olive or vegetable oil (ideally from a jar of sun-dried tomatoes, olives, or artichoke hearts)
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • Scrapings from the bottom of a peanut butter jar, (ideally a couple of tablespoons), or a handful of or any left-over nuts
  • 3 ounces leftover hard cheese (parmigiano reggiano, aged gouda), grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon or 2 of water


  • Choose your favourite pasta (spaghetti, penne, farfelle, etc)
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes


For the Pesto Sauce

  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor, blender, or mortar and pestle, and blend. 
  2. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. If necessary, add a tablespoon or two of water to facilitate the blending process. Reserve.
  4. TIP: Pesto can be kept in a tightly sealed jar, with a thin layer of oil drizzled overtop, for up to a week. It will keep in the freezer for up to six months. For best results, store in individual portion size.

For the Pasta

  1. Make your favorite pasta (spaghetti, fusilli, penne, farfalle…fresh or dried) according to directions.
  2. Just before draining pasta, save a cup of the starchy pasta water.
  3. Drain pasta, then immediately return it to the pot (off the burner). 
  4. Add 1/3 cup of pesto per serving. Add some cherry tomatoes if desired (ideally sauteed in a little bit of oil beforehand for three minutes). 
  5. Stir in remaining pesto, then add pasta water, one tablespoon at a time, and stir it in until integrated with pesto and pasta. 
  6. Keep adding water and stirring until you have a saucy sauce that coats the pasta (yes, a saucy sauce!). The finished sauce should not be too thick or too watery. 
  7. Serve and enjoy!

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