I know what you’re thinking…. pesto is all about the cheese.
Well not this version and I guarantee you won’t miss it. What’s more I’ve included a few cost saving and tips and healthanizing (hmmm that’s really not a word!) tips to reduce the oil content if you are that way inclined (personally I am not since pesto is used in such relatively small quantities).
I first made this batch up a few months back and had almost forgotten about it since I had portioned it in to an ice-cream tray and frozen it. It’s a great way to ensure you have fresh pesto on hand at all times as it can be used in so many ways…. one great option will be coming up in tomorrow's post…but for now let’s just talk pesto!
This recipe is so simple (as you know I’m not generally a fan of over complicated instructions), it’s another one of my ‘whack it all in a food processor and go’ type recipes, so there’s no excuse for not giving it a go if you have the ingredients to hand!
It’s also a pretty flexible recipe, and as you can see from the list of ingredients, spinach can used to sub part of the basil if necessary without compromising the flavour, similarly in the past I have used both walnuts and cashews instead of pine nuts as they are so expensive, but feel to use either, or even almonds…go a little crazy with your combos! Obviously some nuts have more of a dominant taste than others, so go with your preference. The nutritional yeast and miso paste are what gives the pesto the deep mellow cheesy nutty touch so don’t leave these out if you want to achieve a pesto that is more reminiscent of the real thing. As with many vegan foods, don’t expect it to be an exact replacement for it’s traditional counterpart . Embrace the (healthy) differences and enjoy it in it’s own right and appreciate the unique but equally satisfying flavours and textures.
Makes one jar
1 cup fresh basil (or 1 ½ cups and omit the spinach)
½ cup spinach plus ½ tsp dried basil)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbs soy milk or silken tofu
1 cup walnuts/cashews/almonds (cheaper than the traditionally used pine nuts)
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp miso paste
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Note: You could sub half the oil for silken tofu (not tested)
Grind nuts and garlic in a food processor until nuts are coarsely ground. Combine with remaining ingredients and grind until you have a medium grained paste- it should not be to smooth!. Add more salt and pepper if preferred.
Store in the fridge for a few days or freeze in batches- I used an ice cube tray.
(here's your little teaser....pesto polenta bruschetta)
For tips and info on recipe measurement conversions, ingredients, substitutions and the methods behind how I do things.... check out my 'baking tips' tab at the top of the page.