Asparagus Stalk Pesto

Cooking time
Serves4-6 people
Vegetarians Gluten-free diets
Asparagus Stalk Pesto

The woody ends from your asparagus spears might not be as tender as the tips, but you can still eat them. Blitz them with mint, walnuts, lemon juice and veggie parmesan to make a silky springtime pesto that can be tossed with pasta for a quick meal or brushed over chicken, fish or tofu before grilling.


  • 100g leftover woody asparagus stalks
  • 75g vegetarian Italian hard cheese
  • 10g mint sprigs
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 75g walnut halves
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 100-125ml extra virgin olive oil

Prep: 20 mins | Cook: 15 mins

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1. Set a large pan of salted water on to boil. Bend the asparagus spears till they snap. Set the tender tips to one side. Weigh the woody stalks – you should have around 100g stalks. Chop them into chunks around 2cm long. When the water is boiling, add the stalks and simmer for 4-5 mins till they're tender. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the stalks out of the water and leave to drain in a colander.
2. While the asparagus stalks cook, finely grate the cheese. Pick the mint leaves off their sprigs. Peel and crush the garlic clove.
3. Scoop the asparagus into a blender or food processor. Add the grated cheese, mint, garlic, walnut halves, lemon juice and 100ml olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and blend to make a smooth purée. If it's a little too dry, add a splash more olive oil. Taste the pesto and add a pinch more salt or a dash more lemon juice, if you think it needs it.
4. Scoop the pesto into a clean tub or sterlised jar and store in the fridge for up to 3 days. The pesto can also be frozen for up to 3 months – freeze it in ice cubes and you have small portions of pesto, ready for defrosting and tossing with pasta, adding to soups and stews, using to top baked potatoes and brushing over chicken or fish before grilling. 2 tbsp per person is a perfect serving size for pasta.
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