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Nourishing Tips & Recipes

fresh vegan pesto


Red bowl filled with fresh home made pesto.

Pesto can be used generously as a sauce on pasta, whole grains, potatoes, or a bowl of steamed vegetables. It makes a great spread on sandwiches and wraps, or a dipping sauce for just about anything (kids’ favorites are sliced cucumbers or jicama). As a child, my mom taught me to add pesto generously to scrambled eggs and omelettes, and I have been doing it ever since. Liven up cooked chicken or fish with a dollop of pesto before serving. Mix your pesto with some vinegar and oil to make an instant salad dressing (whoa!).


Pesto should only be made with fresh lemon or lime juice. You just can’t match the bright flavor that fresh citrus imparts. Pine nuts add a delicious richness and carry out bad fats, but if they are not your thing (or are just too pricey), try substituting almonds, pecans, or hazelnuts. Avoiding cheese? No sweat. Use nutritional yeast instead. If raw garlic packs too much of a punch, just chop it and soak in near-boiling water for a few minutes before using.


Pesto freezes really well, so you might as well double or triple your batch using fresh summer herbs. Just freeze it in ice cube trays, then transfer the cubes to a freezer bag.


Basil grows in many climates with ease, but you don’t have to grow your own to go wild with the basic and designer pestos in The Nourish Me Kitchen.


INGREDIENTS:

MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS

  • 1/4cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice

  • 1 medium clove garlic

  • 4 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves

  • 1 cup pine nuts

  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese or 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

  • ¼ teaspoon salt


DIRECTIONS:

1 In a food processor or blender, pulse the olive oil, lemon juice and garlic just to combine. Add the basil, pine nuts, cheese or nutritional yeast, and salt and pulse, scraping down the side as needed, until all the ingredients are coarsely chopped. If needed, add a little water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to help the blending process.

2 Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. This pesto is definitely better a few hours after you make it. The sharp garlic flavor chills out and the ingredients get a chance to mingle.


NOTE:

Pesto will keep for about 1 week in the refrigerator, with a thin layer of olive oil poured over the top to prevent browning.

 

Want more recipes like this? The Nourish Me Kitchen 2-book set with 300 family-friendly, body-thriving recipes is here!


The Nourish Me Kitchen Two Volume Book from Dr. Erika Siegel

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