Spaghetti with Dandelion Pumpkin Seed Pesto and Cheddar Cheese

‘Cheesy Pesto Pasta’ is a dish my kids request every week without fail. However, jars of pesto are not cheap. Making your own is super easy and remember that pesto is a concept – not a recipe! You can use any wild green in place of the classic ‘basil’ and pumpkin seeds are an economic substitute to the commonly used but expensive pine nuts.


Preparation Time:

10 mins

Cooking Time:

15 mins




Half a packet of dry spaghetti

100g pumpkin seeds

3 garlic cloves, minced

100g freshly grated cheddar cheese

1 bunch dandelion greens (about 2 large fistfuls)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

125ml olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

Black pepper, to taste


Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Pour the pumpkin seeds onto a shallow-rimmed baking tray and roast until just fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Pulse the garlic and pumpkin seeds together in the bowl of a food processor until very finely chopped.

Add 50g of the cheddar cheese, dandelion greens, and lemon juice and process continuously until combined. Stop the processor every now and again to scrape down the sides of the bowl. The pesto will be very thick and difficult to process after a while — that’s ok.

With the blade running, slowly pour in the olive oil and process until the pesto is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions.

Portion into bowls and then pour a generous helping of the pesto onto the pasta. Top with the remaining grated cheddar cheese and serve.