5 Elements Pesto

From mixed green herbs, sunflower seeds and poppy seeds

After a longer break – which we apologise for – here we are with new energies and ideas. We are presenting a long awaited recipe now, which always makes people wonder. It is very simple because this time we make pesto from everyday ingredients you probably all have in your pantry. We hope there aren’t any Italians reading this because besides basil, we put celery and parsley in it, and instead of pine nuts we use sunflower seeds. We always use poppy seeds as well, which makes the whole dish on one hand beautiful, on the other hand it has a surprising effect – “poppy seeds with garlic...?”. At the same time the cracking of the poppy seeds makes an interesting counterpoint to the creaminess of the pesto.

Of course we put this recipe together using the 5 elements as a guideline. The earth element, which represents the centre, is the most important in this recipe. With the beginning of autumn and colder days, it is good to listen more inside and direct our energies more towards the centre of the body.  Besides the earth element all the other elements are present as well, of course in different proportions: the wood element is represented by the parsley, the fire by the celery green and the poppy seeds, the metal by the garlic and the water by the salt. As the pesto gets even more earthy by combining it with pasta, we recommend to serve it with a salad, especially with balsamic vinegar-tomato salad.

Although we have been making this pesto for years now, we haven’t thought of sharing it with you, because we found it just too plain to be interesting. After all, we made some photos and wrote it down, because so many people asked us for the recipe. You can prepare it and use it fresh or put it in a sterilized jar, pour some oil over it and put it away for darker days in winter.

We are sure you will forgive us for the long silence on the blog after you read our story. We are in the middle of a big change, which takes a lot of effort and energy. I’m sure that this change is a big surprise not only for us, but for you as well:  we both started to learn more about Traditional Chinese Medicine with focus on the 5 Elements. We found a school in Vienna where one of us started a 2-year course to become a 5 elements food therapist. Wow! How is this?

Right now it is still scary, because nothing is on their usual place, everything is just so unsure... But if it works out, I will be able to help all those of you, who want to get healthier eating the right food (which is especially good for you personally), who have difficulties with digestion, or simply believe in the ancient wisdom: food is one of the simplest and best medicines on earth.

Since this pesto recipe seemed a little plain for us – although it is interesting in itself with the different herbs and the poppy seeds -, we thought of trying a new kind of pasta with it. In Asia they use all kinds of different starchy vegetables to make pasta from, which could be good news for all who are on grain-free diets. This time we tried the one made from pumpkin, which is beautifully golden after cooking, and its consistency is similar to the rice noodles. To prepare it you only have to put it in boiling water, and cook it - depending on its size – 5 to 10 minutes.


To prepare the pesto you will need a kitchen tool: preferably a food processor, or if you don’t have one, a blender or a hand mixer. If you prefer the pesto to be really smooth, you should grind the sunflower seeds ahead. If you don’t mind some seed chunks, then put all the ingredients in the food processor and mix it on high speed for 1 minute. Taste it. Don’t forget to put enough salt in it! You will need it because of the plainness of the pasta.


Pesto with mixed green herbs, sunflower seeds and poppy seeds
Serves 4

  • leaves of 1 bunch of basil (ca. 30-40 leaves)
  • leaves of 1 bunch of parsley (leaves of 10-12 stalks )
  • 1 big handful of celery leaves
  • 100 g sunflower seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbs. poppy seeds (not ground)
  • ca. 100 ml extra virgin olive oil or sunflower oil (Make sure you put enough oil in it to make your pesto creamy! So if this 100 ml is not enough, pour a little more in it.)

Serving: Prepare some tomato salad to go with it, which only needs some salt and good quality balsamic vinegar. This salad makes your earthy pasta slide well. They need each other, so don’t leave it out!