I think I prefer this English version of pesto even to the classic Italian basil one. It’s lighter and more versatile. It’s good with pasta, on pizza, or just as flavoring for salad dressing, or indeed to serve with grilled chicken or lamb chops. Just about anything really!


  • 2 squares of focaccia

  • 4–6 big slices of ripe tomato 

For the pesto

  • 3 tbsp walnut pieces

    TST-Bliss on Toast Bliss on Toast Prue Leith
  • bunch of parsley (about 1oz)

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

  • 1/3 cup finely shredded Cheddar cheese

  • 5 tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Put the walnuts on a baking sheet and into the hot oven for 5 minutes to toast. Or toast them in the microwave for 5 minutes, giving them a stir halfway through. 

Chop the stalks of the parsley, which have a lot of flavor you don’t want to waste, with a sharp knife. (Chopping in the machine can result in stringy bits – better to start by hand.) Put them, the parsley leaves and garlic into a blender and chop briefly. Then add the Cheddar and walnuts and blend again. At this point you will need to add the oil to loosen the paste. When everything is in, blitz to a smooth-ish sauce and season with salt and pepper. 

Toast or broil the focaccia pieces to warm them through, then spread with the pesto and overlap the tomato slices on top.



The pesto will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge if stored in a jar with a little more oil on top to keep the air out. But it will lose its brilliant color, sadly.

To make it vegan, use vegan Cheddar or any other hard vegan cheese.

Excerpted from Bliss on Toast: 75 Simple Recipes by Prue Leith. Reprinted by permission of Bloomsbury USA.