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Joy Deveeve brings you a fresh Canadian blog dedicated to the healthiest and tastiest vegan recipes on the planet. Tested in her own kitchen, Joy delivers recipes that are sure to inspire new ideas and bring your meat loving friends over to the good side of life!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Presto! Vegan Pesto

Vegan Pesto, Raw, Raw, Raw!

It's fall, and while I've been picking at my basil plants all summer long, it was time to take the frost warnings seriously, pull the basil and make a mega-batch of yummy vegan pesto.

Raw pesto sauce is a staple at my table. My husband and I love the stuff for it's strong aromatic quality and it's equally strong and delicious taste! I usually have some in the fridge, ready to put on pasta, spread on veggies, almond burgers or vegan crackers.

Sure, it's easier to buy pesto at the store, but there is really nothing like homemade. I insist on making my own, since I can control the ingredients, using nutritional yeast in place of parmesan cheese and olive oil in place of canola. I have found that most store bought pestos are a disappointment. They usually use canola oil or an oil blend instead of using pure olive oil, which in my opinion, dulls the taste.

For those who have never tried pesto, you truly don't know what you are missing. I dedicate this newest recipe post to the pesto virgin. May you find all that has been missing from your life once you try this recipe:)

You will need a food processor, a measuring cup and the following ingredients:

1.5 cups of basil, lightly packed
1/4 cup of pine nuts (walnuts are an inexpensive and optional replacement)
3/4 cup of nutritional yeast
3/4 cup of extra virgin, cold pressed, olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves (large)
1 tablespoon of seasalt (more or less to taste)

To make a double batch, I doubled the recipe but seemed to need less oil, so add oil gradually or you will have excessively oily pesto.

Step-by-step instructions straight from the garden:

1. Soak basil to remove soil and insects.

2. Rinse basil plants and let air dry, or spin dry in a lettuce spinner.

3. Starting with the pesto plant, separate the fresh green leaves from the stems.

Once leaves are separated and dried, they can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days or can be used right away.

4. Place leaves in the measuring cup and with a medium firm push of your hand, pack the leaves. Measure 1.5 cups of basil leaves. Once complete, add to the food processor.

5. Measure all other ingredients except the olive oil and salt. Add these measured ingredients to the food processor on top of the leaves.

6. Add half of the oil, and process all ingredients for 30 seconds.

7. Add more oil as needed until consistency is thick but not too oily. The pesto photo below shows a batch where I added a little too much oil. If this happens, just add some additional basil and nutritional yeast to balance it out. Some people like their pesto oily, I prefer less oily. It's all a matter of taste.

8. Add salt to taste!

Here is the mega-batch of pesto from my garden. Each container holds a double batch, I would say approximately 2.5 cups of pesto. Pesto is very strong tasting, so you don't need much to make a serving. While serving sizes vary, you would most likely get 8 servings out of a double batch, if one serving equals 3-4 heaping tablespoons.

These containers have been labeled and will be put in the freezer for the winter months. One container will be put in the fridge and will last us for the month. Pesto in the freezer makes a great last minute meal or side dish option.

One final note, please keep in mind that the measurements for pesto are not exact. There will be some trial and error with your measurements, which will also account for different tastes. Feel free to experiment with additional ingredients to create unique flavours and new combinations. For example, you could try adding sun dried tomatoes, mint or mustard.

Good luck and bon appetite!


aletheia said...

Hey, this is perfect! I was just thinking about what to do with a bunch of basil that I bought from my local food co-op the other day, when I stumbled upon your blog! And I had pesto in mind - but it had to be raw and vegan, of course. =) thanks!

Joy Deveeve said...

Hey Alethia,

I'm glad this recipe came in handy. How did it all turn out?