This pesto is made with pumpkin seeds instead of pine nuts. It has just as much flavor as traditional pesto and is especially tasty when tossed through some hot pasta.
Because we grow our own pumpkins, I use our recipe for pumpkin purée quite a lot. Every time I get to the “discard the seeds” stage of that recipe however, I feel kind of bad. Pumpkin seeds are edible, so surely there was something I could do with them? After a little bit of research, I discovered that there are indeed a lot of ways to use pumpkin seeds. You can eat them roasted as a snack, use them in granola or use them as garnish. But using them to make pesto, that was something I really wanted to try.
I have made pesto before. The traditional kind, pesto alla genovese, which is made with pine nuts. While I love the taste of pine nuts, there is one thing I really dislike about them: the price. It really stops me from making my own pesto more often. Pumpkin seeds are only a fraction of the price.
Otherwise, this recipe is not too far removed from the original. It is still made with basil and Parmesan cheese. Perhaps I will try out a different version in the future. But for now, I settled for just changing one variable in my original recipe. Besides, why change it, if it tastes great already?
As I said before, I came up with this recipe because I wanted to use up the seeds from my home-grown pumpkins. But I actually cheated a little bit and used store-bought seeds. The reason for this is the fact that this recipe calls for hulled pumpkin seeds. While I did try to find a method to quickly shell my own pumpkin seeds, none of the methods I tried were very successful. Of course I could have removed the husks by hand, one-by-one. But I simply don’t have that kind of patience.
I will continue my search for a quick dehusking method though. I still feel bad about throwing all those seeds away…