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Tomato Chutney and Basil Bruschetta Recipe

This chutney is the ideal solution for dealing with tomatoes which are past their salad best and too soft for anything else. Although it requires fairly lengthy cooking, it can be left on a back burner to simmer away quietly – but do watch it towards the end of its cooking time, as it goes bitter if it scorches.

The plant-powered pesto has countless uses and can be varied with different herbs – parsley, coriander, chives - and nuts – cashews, Brazils. Home-made pesto keeps well, but the longer it sits, the dimmer its colour and the stronger its flavour

The chipotle – my favourite Mexican chilli! 7/10 on the heat scale, it is a smoked, dried jalapeño, rich and hot, with a distinctive flavour and hints of tobacco and chocolate. Treat it with respect because a couple of pinches too many can result in an acrid, unpleasant intensity. The purée and powder are available in most supermarkets.


Makes 4 bruschette

150 ml extra virgin olive oil

250 g red onions, peeled and coarsely chopped

3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

750 g tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp chipotle chilli powder or purée

4 sliced of wholemeal bread, toasted – I used sourdough for the photograph

Dressed salad leaves, to serve (optional)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the plant-powered pesto:-

120 ml extra virgin olive oil

15 g basil

1 garlic clove, peeled

150 g toasted pine nuts

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp bouillon powder

1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat 4 tbsp of olive oil in a large deep drying pan, add the onions and garlic, and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until they are golden.

Tip in the tomatoes, vinegar, chilli and some salt, turn the heat right down, and leave to cook, stirring every now and then, until the mixture is thick and most of the tomato moisture has evaporated. Cool then adjust the seasoning.

To make the pesto, set aside a tablespoon of the pine nuts and purée the rest with all the remaining ingredients together in a small food processor until fairly smooth. If the mixture is very thick, add about 1 tbsp of water to loosen it. Check the seasoning.

Spread the toasted bread with the chutney, spoon the pesto over the top and sprinkle with the reserved pine nuts.

Serve immediately with some salad leaves.

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