Pesto Princess Cooking Sauces: What Keeps 100 Hungry Tree planters Going?

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APRIL, 2022

By Skye Mallac

If you’ve ever spent a full day on a reforestation site, nestling thousands of baby trees into their new homes on an Overberg hillside, you’ll probably know what I mean when I say there’s nothing that refuels you like a hot and wholesome meal – eaten with soily hands and tired feet.

Most of you reading this probably know the feeling – so it goes without saying that the key to keeping 100 hungry tree-planters going pretty much lies in the promise of a feast like that at the end of the day.

Greenpop’s annual Reforest Festival just returned for the first time since 2019, and the sandy slopes of Bodhi Khaya’s reforestation site are home to a grand total of 5063 new trees – already digging deep and spreading roots. As the biggest event we hold – there was a total of 700 people on site on the Saturday – there’s a whole lot of preparation which goes into hosting it and we put together a vibrant crew of almost 100 members this time around – catered to and nourished by our tireless and dedicated kitchen team. And you know what might just have kept us all going? Probably Pesto Princess.

Kathleen Quillinan’s vibrant array of convenience products – from their renowned pesto, obviously, to a wealth of hummus, chimichurri and tzatziki – kept our bread spread and days flavour-filled throughout the weekend. But when it comes to hearty meals, it was the Pesto Princess Sauces that really packed a punch. Feeding a hungry crew of 100 is no small feat, particularly when they’ve spent a day on a planting site or building stages, and there’s nothing like a nutrient-dense, wholesome curry at the end of a long day to keep you ready for the next.

Pesto Princess Cooking Sauces are incredibly versatile and pack an easy and delicious punch to whatever you’re working with. For a 30-minute stew or a last-minute pasta dish – keeping things quick, simple and delicious – convenience meets quality, flavour and nutrition. So, you can just imagine how much this helps the caterer to a group of hungry tree-planters and festival crew.

“The Pesto Princess pre-made sauces are a practical dream when catering for large groups of hungry people,” says Reforest Festival kitchen manager, Gabriela Charlotte. “With so much of the hard work done in terms of balancing flavour and vegetable prep, all you need to do is add some protein or more fresh veg and cook up a simple side for a nutritious, filling meal. The sauces have been great when it comes to bulking up a stew, curry or pasta, and serve as an easy solution for fluctuating catering numbers.”

Really, if you think about it, at this point Pesto Princess products are for feeding hungry planters and, by extension, saving the world – as in actively and readily contributing to an ongoing restoration impact.  

So if you, unlike us, weren’t on the crew and missed out on the delicious Cape Malay Veg Curry we had for dinner on Saturday night at Reforest Festival, fear not because you can make it yourself and revel in the experience vicariously.

In keeping things local and lekker, Pesto Princess’s Cape Malay Curry sauce is packed with fragrant whole spices, ginger and garlic and a vegetable base of sweet potato and tomato for a medium-hot curry packed with traditional Cape Malay flavours. Plus no preservatives, gluten or animal products make it a pretty versatile addition to any meal for any diet.

(adapt as per your tree-planting group size)

Pesto Princess

Cape Malay Veggie Curry

Curry:

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 red pepper, sliced
1 medium aubergine, cubed
300–400g butternut or sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 tub Pesto Princess Cape Malay Curry Sauce
100g baby spinach, or chickpeas
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh coriander, to serve
1 red onion, finely sliced to serve

For the cauli rice (alternatively just use normal rice):

1 medium cauliflower
1 tsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Serves 4 to 6

How to:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

2. Toss veggies in olive oil, salt and pepper. Place them in a roasting tray and oven-roast for between 20 and 30 minutes until golden and cooked through. If you don’t have time on your side, you can also fry your veggies in batches (just cut them up a little smaller).

3. To make the cauli rice, make sure the cauliflower is completely dry. Chop it into large pieces (discard the leaves but use the cores) and place these in a food processor. Pulse until the cauli is the texture of rice. Work in batches if necessary and don’t over process or things might get mushy.

4. To cook the cauli rice, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan, over medium heat. Add the blitzed cauli and sauté until heated through (between 3 and 5 minutes). Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.

5. In a saucepan on the stove top, heat the Pesto Princess Cape Malay Curry Sauce. Add the roasted veggies and lastly the fresh spinach.

Serve with cauli rice, fresh coriander and thinly sliced red onion.

Pesto Princess Sauces are available at SPAR, as well as select independent food stores and online. For a full stockist list visit www.pesto.co.za

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