What’s the perfect topper for pasta, salad, and pizza? Pesto, of course!


Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been adding pesto to my homemade pizzas. I was always a picky eater, but my Dad insisted that I give pesto a try. As soon as he opened the jar, I knew that it was going to taste absolutely delicious. The aroma of a herbs and garlic partner so perfectly with pizza.

When I was younger, I watched a lot of cooking shows. I loved when the chefs would share their pesto recipes, because the difference between a jarred version and a fresh recipe is quite drastic, and they always made it seem so easy to make at home. I also learned from various cooking shows that pesto is not limited to one specific flavor profile. As long as you use one kind of fresh herb, and raw nut, the combinations are endless.

You can imagine my disappointment when I went vegan, because I had to give up pesto. Unfortunately every brand on the grocery store shelves contain parmesan cheese, and various milk products. Although I found a way to move on, I realized that creating my own vegan recipe would be the best way to fix this problem.

I did find vegan pesto brand at an upscale grocery store in downtown Toronto, but they never seem to restock their supply. Instead of picking something different for my weekend dinner menu, I decided to check out the grocer’s fresh herb selection this week instead. I’ve always wanted to create a pesto recipe, so this was a perfect opportunity.

You should never underestimate the power of fresh herbs and produce. As a vegan it’s crucial to get your daily dose of iron, so for this reason, I measured out equal parts of spinach and basil for some extra leafy greens in this pesto recipe. I wanted to intensify the fresh herb flavor, so I added fresh thyme as well.

To top off this pesto recipe, I finished with splash of freshly squeezed lemon, and some nutritional yeast. If you do happen to have some vegan parmesan in the fridge, feel free to sprinkle some in at the end for some extra cheesiness.

This pesto recipe is ideal for a dinner party, or for a romantic night in. Whether you spread it on your pizza crust, toss it in with your pasta, use it as a salad dressing, or bake it onto some delicious bruschetta toasties, it is the perfect addition to virtually any dish.


Prep Time: 5 minutes

Blend Time: 5 minutes

Makes: 2 Cups

Ingredients

2 Cups of Fresh Basil

2 Cups of Organic Baby Spinach

1/4 Cup of Fresh Thyme

5 Small Cloves of Garlic

3/4 Cup of Raw Pine Nuts

1/4 Cup of Nutritional Yeast

1 Teaspoon of Fresh Lemon Juice

1/4 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon of Vegan Parmesan – optional

Directions

1. Measure out the basil and spinach, and rinse under cold water.


2. Add the damp spinach and basil to the bottom of the food processor. Pull the leaves of thyme off of the sprigs, and add them into the food processor as well.


3. Remove the outer layer of the garlic cloves, and place them on top of spinach and herbs.


4. Next, pour in the pine nuts, lemons juice, nutritional yeast, and olive oil.


5. Pulse everything together for about 1 minute. Remove lid to scrape the ingredients from the side of the food processor.


6. Add any extra oil, if necessary, then purée for 2 minutes, or until reached desired consistency.


8. Once the Pesto is mixed well, add an optional 1 tablespoon of vegan parmesan cheese. Pulse one or twice to mix.


9. Pour the Pesto into a bowl. Use right away, or store in the fridge for up to 2 days. For best results, serve fresh! Enjoy.

Published by Tasha Blake