• extra virgin olive oil
  • dairy-free parmezan (e.g. Florentino)
  • ground almonds
  • garlic puree
  • ground black pepper
  • chopped basil preserved in olive oil
  • optional: chopped sundried tomatoes (usually in some oil too)
  • optional 2: diced potato and some green beans


I am disabled and developed this to make up when I am too ill (or, when in better health, lazy!) to cook. It is incredibly quick and easy, delicious too, and fools non- vegans.

Garlic puree is easy enough to get (don’t overdo it!); vegan parmezan is available in GB, don’t know about abroad. The recipe can cope without. I use ground almonds because you can’t get ground pine kernals and they’re a hassle to chop: they taste pretty similar. The basil is the only one you may not find: I spotted it in a health food shop. Basically it’s basil in a jar that has been topped up with oil and some salt to preserve it, and it’s very good.

Mix everything to taste. I usually end up adding a lot of almonds to balance out the salt from the parmezan and the basil, and enough oil to give a good consistency. All you need is the jars and so forth of ingredients and a spoon to make this one up: I mix it on the plate while the pasta’s cooking.

For red pesto, put in the sundried tomatoes and adjust until you like it!

For Spaghetti Genovese (this is from memory I’m afraid):

* dice a potato * cut some french beans into 2 or 3 pieces each * boil both until tender and mix in with the (green) pesto

Rumour has it that pesto freezes very nicely in those little tubs you get from delis.

Preparation time: 2