Vegan Pesto

basil

Fresh basil is one of my favorite summer smells, and having access to an abundance of it is a dream come true.

Pesto is wonderful to have on hand to boost pastas, grain dishes, vegetable dishes as well as soups and stews.

tomatoes

There’s also something about the aroma that surrounds you when picking from tomato plants, sweet and earthy and one of my favorite things to incorporate into my meals in surplus in the summertime. Handfuls throughout the day and on top of salads, I can’t get enough. When produce is so fresh and grown organically you need nothing more than a little salt and pepper to bring out its beauty.

vegan pesto table

This meal is a great seasonal creation as well as an easy intro into raw food. Squash noodles are appealing to almost anyone with their fun texture and similar appearance to the comforting bowl of noodles. Fresh oregano bring out the italian appeal in this dish and fresh sliced cherry tomatoes and chopped sun-dried tomatoes add interest and another dimension of bite for satisfaction and flavor.

vegan pesto

This pesto is a great option for those looking to reduce dairy in their diet as well as nuts which can be hard on digestion. The incorporation of nutritional yeast adds a boost of Vitamin B-12 and that nutty, cheesy flavor we look for in pesto from the aged Parmesan cheese, but if you don’t have it, just use a hard cheese! If you don’t have hemp seeds, you can substitute with additional pumpkin seeds. If you have walnuts, pine nuts, or even almonds on hand-feel free to experiment with those and play with the outcome of it! You’d also be surprised by how much you can cut the fat from a traditional pesto by boosting it with an extra handful of basil leaves or a dark leafy green such as kale. This pesto is so much lighter and palatable than the oily, heavy variety you’d find at the store.

Ingredients

2-3 cups packed basil leaves

1/3 cup soaked pumpkin seeds (soaking nuts and seeds for at least 2 hours and then rinsing increases their nutrient availability and digestion)

2 tbs raw, shelled hemp seeds

2 tbs nutritional yeast

2 tbs cold pressed olive oil (see my post on fat/oil sources here!)

1/4 tsp garlic powder (or use 1 fresh garlic clove but I found that the dried variety is less cloying and easier on my stomach)

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/ Place ingredients in a food processor and blend until a paste forms. Serve on top of raw squash or zucchini noodles or on your favorite pasta. Top with extra olive oil if desired.

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Filed under Dips & Dressings, Entree, Raw, Veggies

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