Make Alexandra Dudley's Poor man's pesto

The classic versatile green pesto is given a wallet-friendly makeover by substituting pine nuts for equally delicious sunflower seeds

Alexandra Dudley's poorman's sunflower seed pesto; Photograph by Andrew Burton

Makes 1

Preparation time 10 mins

Cooking time 0 mins

Pesto is a store-cupboard essential, but if you're making it from scratch, pine nuts can be incredibly expensive. Dudley set about experimenting with less costly options, like sunflower seeds. She uses basil, parsley, coriander and tarragon, but you can play around with any of your favourite herbs. Stir into pasta, spread on toast or spoon over potatoes, chicken or fish.


  • 3 large handfuls of herbs – basil, coriander or parsley, roughly chopped with the stems chopped a little finer
  • 4 tbsp tarragon leaves, chopped (optional)
  • 100g sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, crushed (depending on how much garlic you like)
  • about 150ml or more cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon (or more)
  • sea salt


  1. Combine the herbs, sunflower seeds and garlic in a food processor and pulse until broken down to your preference.
  2. Slowly add the oil and lemon juice with the motor still running until you reach the consistency you desire. Season to taste.
  3. Transfer to sterilised jars or an airtight container. This will keep for about a week in the fridge.