Monday, November 7, 2011

Pesto, Healthy Style

We absolutely love pesto (basil, that is) in this household. In my previous life as an obese live to eat active participant, I made pesto all the time. It was my go to pasta dish when I was too lazy to create anything else. Just some spaghetti noodles and pesto and PRESTO - Dinner of champs. In fact, I blogged about the typical basil pesto here quite some time ago.

But in my new life as an overweight eat to live active participant (and I say that with a big smile on my face), I no longer eat pasta 3 times a week (I don't even think I eat it once a week) and rarely do I have pesto in the fridge. Not because I don't want it anymore but because I wasn't sure what a viable substitute would be, read into this, sans olive oil and parmesan. I tried a couple of recipe I found but they included miso and I didn't care for the flavor. I could taste the miso and while I love miso, I don't love it in my pesto.

So I decided yesterday, after picking some basil in my garden, to just make pesto and leave out those two ingredients. I substituted nutritional yeast for the parmesan and just added a bit of water and a few cashews to try to bring back that creaminess.

While the creaminess wasn't the same despite best efforts, and the taste was a bit different (I also omitted the salt) I like this version. I froze it in my nifty silicone baby food freezer thingee (but you can use ice cube trays) and put the frozen blobs in a ziploc. I'll be using it in stews and soups, as an addition to my no oil hummus and as a spread on whole grain toast. Oh, and probably in a dressing recipe!

2 cups fresh basil, packed
2-4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (add more if you like)
1/8-1/4 cup water (depending on the consistency you would like)
1/4 cup raw cashews (optional)

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and turn it on! This recipe is very forgiving. If you like a more nutty flavor, add more pine nuts. When I am out of pine nuts I'll use whatever nuts I have available. I love mac nuts in my pesto. Or even pecans. Or walnuts. You get the point.

fresh basil from the garden to the kitchen

If you smash the garlic with the side of your knife, it is super easy to peel

I love a lot of garlic. I wish I added more.

raw pine nuts

nutritional yeast

add it all to your blender

turn it on

This is totally optional

Looks good!

Time to freeze for later!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks - perfect timing as someone just gave me a huge fat bag of basil! I'm gonna try it! You are the best.




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