Thursday 17 January 2019

Taste test Pesto

Basil pesto
Basil pesto
Katy McGuinness

Katy McGuinness

We tested half a dozen of the most commonly available basil pestos and examined their contents closely. Authentic pesto contains only basil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, a little garlic and extra virgin olive oil. Lemon juice is optional.

Laragh Stuart Sauces Basil Pesto, 170g, €5.29, 9/10

This lovely Irish-made pesto contains 44pc basil, as well as sunflower oil, cashew nuts, extra virgin olive oil (EVVO), Parmesan, fresh garlic and salt. Our testers thought it was delicious and the most authentic of those tested, despite the absence of pricey pine nuts.

The Happy Pear Lovely Basil Pesto, 180g, €4.99, 8/10

For those who like a cheesy-tasting pesto, this is the one to pick. It's made with olive oil, cashew nuts, 17pc basil, a vegetarian Parmesan-style cheese, lemon juice and garlic. Made in Ireland.

Pestle & Mortar Fresh Green Basil Pesto, 140g, €2.75, 7/10

Our testers thought this was good value, similar to the more expensive versions. It contains rapeseed oil and both grana padano and cheddar cheese, as well as EVVO and pine nuts. It's made in Ireland too. We found it in Tesco.

Tesco Finest Pesto with Fresh Basil, 130g, €3.45, 2/10

Our testers had no time for this pesto - despite it containing 25pc basil. Other ingredients include rapeseed oil, EVVO, medium fat cheese containing potato starch, Pecorino, toasted pine nuts and garlic puree, but the lemon juice dominated.

M&S Green Pesto, 130g, €3.10, 2/10

Another pesto dominated by the citric taste of concentrated lemon juice, with a similar ingredient list to the one from Tesco. Not good.

Dunnes Stores Basil Pesto, 130g, €2.99, 2/10

This pesto contains 23pc basil but also lists EVVO, sunflower oil and cheese powder, plus acidity regulator, preservative and antioxidant. Our testers were unimpressed.

Irish Independent

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