A delicious recipe for pesto toast inspired by my time in Prague

An easy pesto recipe to make with Prairie-grown ingredients

Image for Dan Clapson's delicious recipe for pesto toast inspired by Prague
Photos by provided by PRASÁTKO: A Czech-inspired pop-up.

It's no secret to many that I spend plenty of time overseas in Prague. What started out as a trip in 2017 to visit my best friend—shortly after his move to the Czechia capital—has turned into me calling the city my second home.

I usually hunker down in Prague for a total of two months in a calendar year. While I would like to pretend that all I do here is hop around town, wining and dining, trust that I clock plenty of hours in front of my laptop writing away, having virtual meetings, et al.

With that said, I feel lucky to be able to dive deep into the local food scene more than most North American visitors are able, and it's one that continues to capture my attention (and taste buds).

I've written about Prague's restaurant scene for Eater and shared Czech-related recipes and travel tips on morning news shows, among other things. My progressive love of Czech food culture has even led to my very own Czech-inspired pop-up PRASÁTKO, which I put on at my Calgary venue The Prairie Emporium every couple of months.

Still, there's always something new-to-me to enjoy in Prague. Enter pesto toast.

A popular snack at Prague markets, and most notably at Náplavka Farmers' Market, Prague's pesto toast is nothing more than a big slice of toast with a generous portion of pesto slathered on top. Pesto variations can, well, vary depending on where you order it, so expect spins on the traditional as well as pistou (i.e. cheeseless pesto) options too.

Taking inspiration from both the simplicity of pesto toast and the range of pestos available, I've come up with a delicious recipe for charred scallion and sunflower seed pesto. This easy-to-make (and nut-free) pesto pays homage to both Prague and the Canadian Prairies by way of its ingredients.

While this recipe did not make it into my best-selling cookbook Prairie, I think it just might be in the running for cookbook number two.

Charred scallion and sunflower seed pesto

1 bunch green onions, ends trimmed and roughly chopped

2 tsp canola oil

salt, to season

1 cup roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds

1/2 cup fresh roughly chopped parsley leaves

1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh dill

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

1/4 cup finely grated aged gouda or Edam

2 tbsp preserved dill weed

2 tbsp of pickle brine

1 dill pickle

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 garlic clove

1 Tbsp honey

1/2 cup cold-pressed canola oil, plus more if desired

bread slices, for serving

fresh herbs and crushed chili flakes, for garnish


Making the pesto:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, on broil setting if your oven allows. 

Toss green onions with canola oil and salt and spread onto a prepared baking sheet.

Roast for 15 minutes, turning once at the halfway point.

Remove from ove and let cool for 5 minutes.

In the meantime, place all remaining ingredients aside from cold-pressed canola in a food processor or blender and pulse until a thick paste forms.

Add in the charred green onions and puree while slowly pouring in oil until pesto becomes lighter in colour and texture, but still spreadable, approximately 1/2 cup of oil.

Transfer to sealable jar or container and keep in fridge until ready to use. (Will keep for up to two weeks.)


To serve:

Toast bread slices and slather each slice generously with charred scallion and sunflower seed pesto.

Garnish with fresh herbs and crushed chili flakes, and enjoy!

2 1/2 cups pesto
Prep Time:
20 minutes