Pesto… A student staple, updated!

imageAsk most students what meal they remember cooking/having from their student days and a common reply would be, “Pesto pasta!”

Really, it’s the perfect student meal: low cost pasta mixed with an easily bought jar of pesto and, if you fancied splashing out a bit, you could even add a scattering of cheese on top! Ooo errrr!

However, my student days are a bit of a distant memory now and whilst I still love pesto pasta I felt it was time to give poor old pesto a bit of a glamorous makeover! The first step was to make my own pesto. I didn’t actually realise how it easy it was to make pesto until I watched my mum doing it one summer and, as well as being easy, boy did the fresh stuff taste good! You can use a variety of herbs to make it, traditional basil, coriander or parsley – which I used in this recipe. Find my parsley pesto recipe here!

Parsley pesto

The question was, could I create a dish that was a bit more upmarket than pesto pasta but still at relatively low cost? The answer… Yes! In the form of a Hasselback Tomato Salad.

Hasselback tomato saladWhilst the dish is very simple, it tastes delicious and looks great too! All you need is some tomatoes, mozzarella, your homemade pesto (or shop bought) and, as an optional extra, some bacon.

If using bacon, set the oven to 200 degrees C and put it in the oven on a lined tray until crispy. Cut a small slice off the top of the tomato, to get rid of the stalk, then turn them upside down and use the now flat surface as the base. Then, cut slices into the tomato – ensuring that you don’t cut all the way through!

Hasselback tomato salad assembly

In each slice put a small bit of mozzarella and some of the pesto. Once you have done this for each slice, scatter the crispy bacon on top! Then eat and enjoy, it’s that easy!

My husband enjoyed this so much that he even took it to work for lunch the next day, with an extra dollop of homemade pesto on the side!

Packed lunchI served this fresh, as a salad, however a friend suggested popping the tomato and mozzarella under the grill to soften and melt for a few minutes before adding the pesto and bacon which also sounds delicious! I might just have to try that too!

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