“ Brand: Asda / Type: Dip „
Looking inside my kitchen cupboards a few weeks ago I realised that I was running low on essentials for making meals so stocked up on several items which I could use to make my meals-for-one a bit more interesting. Wherever possible I try to avoid frozen or chilled meals mainly because of the cost and because I like to know exactly wherever possible, what goes into my food. Also I am tending to get a bit lazy so these jars of pesto were ideal for me costing just £1 per190g when on offer in Asda recently.
The 190g glass jar has a twist off black plastic lid and I have found that they can be re-use so I have a couple now full of herbs. I am told that the product is made in Italy (unlike Dr Oetker's pizzas!) and is free from artificial colours, flavourings and hydrogenated fat. I am also told the ingredients, nutritional information, ideas for use and given allergy advice (contains pine nuts and cashew nut flour).
I won't give you the whole list of ingredients but will highlight the following which I consider to be important
- 53% basil (very generous compared to some pestos)
- 2.5% gran padano cheese (not tasted this before)
- 1.2% precorrino cheese (I like this)
- ewe's milk (unusual)
- pine nuts and cashew nut flour (may not be suitable for some)
As far as nutritional values are concerned the jar contains a hefty amount of calories and, be warned, 42.6g of fat! I found that this fat content could be reduced though because on opening there is a layer of oil which can carefully be drained off to a degree making the finished dish mless greasy and a little more healthy.
The pesto itself is fairly thick and a lovely green colour. You can smell the basil and undertones of the nuts and cheese as soon as it is opened and it blends well into a bowl of freshly cooked pasta. I like to add it to chopped cooked bacon or a good quality sausage chopped or sliced the bunged on top of pasta shapes or spaghetti with a sprinkling of parmesan. I find this to be a filling and cheap meal with a small side salad.
The taste too is lovely and pretty authentic. The taste of the basil, the cheeses and a less prominent taste of nuts is evident and overall there is a lovely comforting factor when tucking into the meal. I like the slight taste of garlic too but not when it takes over the whole tasting experience but once again I think Asda have got the balance right in this green pesto.
I can get 4 single portions out of this one jar so I think it is cost effective and far easier than shopping for the ingredients and the doing all the grinding etc so I will definitely be buying this again.
* I saw a good tip on Superscrimpers (TV programme) which said you could pop unused pesto into ice cube trays and freeze. I have tried this and it works so saves me having the same meal over 4 evenings!
Well worth a try but some people may find it too oily as all the fat cannot be drained away before use.
When I was a student, many moons ago, I used to live on pasta with pesto, this was because back then (in the 90s) you could pick up a 500g bag of fusilli and a small jar of this magic green paste for about a quid and could make numerous meals from it!
I think I overdid it a bit in my student years and therefore had not even thought of pesto since, but the other day, while looking for ways to jazz up a baked chicken breast online (new healthy eating plan) I stumbled across the suggestion of smearing it with pesto and decided to pick up a jar on the next shop.
This 190g jar cost £1.08 from my local ASDA and on the jar it states that it is made from a combination of basil, pine nuts, olive oil and a mix of pecorino and grana padano cheese. Apparently it is very easy to make your own pesto from a blend of these ingredients with a food processor and I may actually have a bash at this, although given how much the ingredients would probably cost it's likely to work out cheaper to buy it ready made like this.
So, 100g of this product contains 423 calories and 6.4g of saturated fat, this equates to 7.5 weight watchers points per 100g which is approximately half the jar, however, in general for a portion of pasta, I would only use about a tablespoon of pesto which is about a third of the half jar, so the points value would be around 2.5.
This stuff is pretty concentrated in terms of flavour and a little goes a long way. When using it on chicken breasts, I again only need around a tablespoon to get the desired flavour.
I had forgotten what a distinctive flavour pesto has, the basil and oil are, in my opinion, the most recognizable elements of this paste, I tried out a bowl of straight pasta with it first for old times sake and the moment I added the pesto to the hot pasta the smell took me back about 15 years!
I love this stuff, it is versatile, cheap and not too unhealthy and I think now I have rediscovered it, I shall be keeping a jar in the fridge at all times. It keeps for a couple of weeks after opening but must be kept refridgerated.
Asda Green Pesto
One of my favourite lunch time meals is pasta. I have it with a tomato based sauce or with just a knob of butter but mostly I enjoy it with a knob of butter and then some pesto sauce.
The pesto I usually use is Asda's green pesto, made in Italy with fragrant Basil, Grana Padano and Pine Nuts.
~~~ Packaging ~~~
This sauce comes in a small, clear glass jar, approximately 4" high and about 2" in diameter, with a black twist off lid, with Asda Green Pesto written across the front. The jar contains 190g of the sauce and it states on the front of the jar that it contains no artificial colours, flavours or hydrogenated fats.
~~~ Ingredients ~~~
This Pesto consists of Basil (53%), water, sunflower oil, Grana Padano cheese (2.5%), cashew nut flour, pine nuts (1.2%), Precorino cheese (1.2%), Ewe's milk, acidity regulators (ascorbic acid, lactic acid), salt, rice starch and garlic.
And for those with allergies it contains ~ Cow's and Ewe's milk, nuts and egg and may contain traces of other nuts and /or seeds.
~~~ A couple of points of interest. ~~~
Pesto originates in Genoa in the Liguria region of Northern Italy. The name 'Pesto' is derived from the 'crushing' or 'pounding' of certain herbs, and is from the same Latin name as the English word 'Pestle'.
Grana Padano is a mild and crumbly, Italian cheese made from cow's milk. I had to Google that as I didn't know, lol.
~~~ How to use ~~~
Pesto is used in many dishes, but a simple and effective way is just to add it to cooked pasta. Just cook your pasta until it is 'Al Dente' or however you like it. Once cooked, drain and add a knob of butter (optional) and stir in, and then just add a dessert spoon of the pesto sauce. This on its own is just delicious but I then like to add Mattersons smoked pork sausage thinly sliced, to add a bit of contrasting flavour and to make it a little more filling if you want it as a main meal. It is quick and easy to prepare and makes a filling and tasty lunch, snack or even a main meal.
~~~ Opinion ~~~
I really like this sauce and I would recommend it to any one to try if they fancy something a little different on their pasta, other than the usual tomato based sauces. It is so easy to prepare, tastes wonderful and is very filling. It is very cheap and a jar this size (190g) will give four single servings based on using with 100g of cooked pasta. So once opened this jar should be refrigerated and consumed within 2 weeks, though it never lasts that long in my house!
~~~ Cost ~~~
As previously mentioned this is Asda's own pesto and costs £1.00 for a 190g jar.
Thank you for reading my review and I hope that you found it of interest.
I love to cook and staying with my mate at the moment means I got two of us to cook for opposed to me usually only cooking for one, in fact not cooking for one I usually live on ready meals and toast! lol.
However up until recently me and her and have been in a caravan on holiday meaning limited room and utensils to cook with so although we ate well I couldn't go mad with my culinary creations especially with four dogs constantly under my feet!
However the past couple of weeks we have been in her house clearing it out cos she's moving so we've had a kitchen to mess up and funds to buy all sorts of foods due to us doing car-boots and stuff!
However it's took me a while to get back to grips with cooking. Not only cos it's something I got rather out of practice with but also cos my friend is Vegetarian. Now like I said I've spent alot of time with her lately and although very occasionally I do have meat to myself (though not often to be honest nowadays) I have struggled to find things to cook that aren't mountains of vegetables that I personally get sick of.
I do like Italian sorts of foods and me and my mate both love pasta dishes but we get sick of plain pasta so I spotted this on offer at 2 jars for a pound (other varieties of this are available) and decided to get us some to try out.
190g glass jar that is see-through and it has a black screw on/off lid to the top of it. On the front of the jar in light green and white writing we are told that it is Asda Green Pesto 'Made in Italy with fragrant basil, grana padano, pecorino and pine nuts' and that it is an Asda brand and that it is free from artificial colours, flavours, hydrogenated fat and that it is an improved recipe and the weight is stated (as I've listed already). Other information on the back of the jar given includes ingredients and allergy advice being given, storage and nutritional information is also stated and ideas on how to use it and contact details for Asda are given. Nice enough jar and it's informative enough and easy to dig into with a spoon etc to use it.
The Pesto Itself:
In the jar it actually looks like a mint sauce. Oil settles to the top and when you open it up and take a sniff it actually pongs rancid to me! It smells highly of basil but then this does contain 46% of the stuff with a hint of garlic. It is an oily mixture and you can use this in a variety of ways of course and it's a fine sloppy mixture.
You can this in gravy and soups, stir it through cooked pasta, bake chicken in it, stir through meats when frying instead of oil...all sorts really, it is versatile!
We stir this through cooked pasta and I also use this instead of oil when making a spaghetti bolognese (with meat free mince) to brown off ingredients.
Like I said it is oily and because of it's greenness in the oil and the mashed up ingredients it does colour food slightly!
Taste wise we really like it. Like I keep saying though it is oily and it tastes it so we use it very sparingly indeed. Within the mix of oil and basil there is some Italian cheese and cashew and pine nuts within it too giving it a slightly nutty undertone to the pesto in a very light way. There is a taste of garlic and it's well seasoned too!
Italian flavoured it really is a basil paste with a slight twist and to me this Asda version of pesto is rather good if not a bit oily (though you can scoop some of that sunflower oil out if you so desire, like we do lol). It's good stuff and has a worthy place in your fridge in my opinion!
Nutritional Information Per 100g:
Energy: 423 Kcal
of which sugars: 3.1g
of which saturates: 6.4g
equivalent as salt: 1.4g
Only available in Asda stores priced at £1.00 a jar usually but like I have already said this is currently is on offer at two jars for a pound!