Posts tagged pesto
Veggie pesto pine nut squares

This veggie pesto bake is a wonderful summer recipe, especially using fresh basil from the garden!

I wanted to make this recipe for my family at the weekend. I found the photos in my archives from when I first shot the recipe last year for realfoodsource using their new ingredient range, but I couldn't find the actual recipe anywhere!

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I have made variations on it - these sweet potato rostis in particular, so I knew the rough idea. I figured I'd have to wing it and hope for the best.... it turned out really well!

Instead of making it as squares as per the original photos, I cooked it in a square oven dish and served it up hot with a huge salad. The squares are still amazing though.

This is best made with spiralized veggies for a pretty ‘curly whirly’ effect but you could use a julienne peeler or a coarse grater. I used a mix of carrot, courgette and a little onion but you could use fewer or different ingredients such a sweet potato or parsnip if you prefer. You could also bake this mix into pre-portioned muffin cups.

To save time I used bought free-from pesto in a jar, but you could make your own, or use hummus with herbs added to it.

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Recipe: Veggie pesto pine nut squares

Makes approx 12 squares (a brownie sized pan)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups spiralized vegetables (I courgette, 2 medium carrots and 1 red onion)

  • ¼ cup almond or cashew paste (optional)

  • 1/2 cup vegan pesto (or regular pesto or hummus and fresh basil)

  • approx. ½ tsp salt (this may depend on the pesto etc used)

  • approx. 3 tbs water

  • A handful of extra fresh basil, roughly chopped

  • 1 cup chickpea (gram) flour

  • ¼ cup pine nuts (up to ½ cup more if preferred)

Method:

Spiralize or julienne the veggies, chop a little to avoid very long ribbons.  Set aside.

Mix together the wet ingredients and add to the coat the veggies (taste test and add salt and pepper as desired). Add the gram flour last and mix to coat well. Add an extra splash of water if the mix doesn’t appear quite wet enough to coat evenly. Mix through the pine nuts now or set aside to press into the top if preferred.

Press the mix firmly into a lightly greased brownie sized tin- the mix should be approx 2cm thick. Smooth the top and press in the pine nuts.  Bake at 180C for approx 25-30 mins until golden. Serve hot or allow to cool and cut into squares- great for lunchboxes or picnics when served cold. Will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.

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Pesto cabbage and chickpea soup

This is a red soup, a very red soup indeed! 

As much as I love this soup and could eat it every day, sometimes I have the urge to change things up a little and so today this is my new soup concoction.

I used a red onion and a red cabbage which gives the deep rich hue, but I imagine this would also work fine with white cabbage. The key ingredient in this soup is pesto. I used my homemade pesto but you could use any vegan pesto (or regular pesto if vegan is not a priority).

This soup is super simple to throw together, and allows for plenty of variation with choice of beans and cabbage type if you don’t have the ones I used to hand. I love using chickpeas in soups as they have a lovely unique bite to them, more so that other beans in my opinion, but that’s just me so feel free to go for your favourite. Or use red kidney beans for a truly red delight!

This makes for a lovely light lunch or a more hearty evening meal served with bread, cous-cous or quinoa. You could even try this chilled on a hot summers day!

The sun has finally decided to come out here and I am going to make the most of it! I have a few ‘summer’ recipe ideas up my sleeve for the coming days…and hopefully a few days of reading in the sun will be on the cards for this weekend. Yay!

I hope the sun is out wherever you are too!

Recipe: Pesto cabbage and chickpea soup

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2tbs olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 carrot- grated
  • 1 small courgette- grated
  • ½ head red cabbage- chopped/sliced
  • ¼ cup vegan pesto (I used my homemade version)
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp dried oregano or mixed herbs
  • 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup pine nuts (or crushed cashews as I used)
  • Handful fresh basil

Method

Heat oil in a large pan and gently fry the onions for 2 minutes. Add the pesto, grated carrot, courgette and cabbage and sauté for another 3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, dried herbs and stock and simmer for around 15 minutes until softening. Add the chickpeas and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Mix through the basil and nuts just before serving. Serve with a swirl or soy yoghurt or cream if desired.

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Pesto polenta bruschetta

I gave you a little teaser yesterday and now here it is…

Pesto polenta bruschetta.

The perfect light lunch option, it’s also a lovely twist on tradition since the polenta offers a tasty gluten free alternative to traditional crusty bread.

The recipe is pretty simple, but it’s more the concept that I was going for really. The idea of using polenta as a bruschetta base delicately flavoured with pesto and then topped with a pesto coated bruschetta medley. Perfectly delicate (dare I say it ‘summery’) flavours, you could mix and match with other ingredients to suit your tastes.

The polenta is simply made mixed with water according to the packet instructions. Just add a dollop of pesto to the mixture too. I used quick cook polenta and whipped it up in 3 minutes in my Thermomix, but it would also work in exactly the same way on the hob- just keep stirring until it thickens.

You don’t need to be too precise with the topping ingredients, below is just a guide so just throw in what feels right!

This really does seems like a summery dish, why is that?  What makes some foods comforting winter dishes, like my sweet potato coconut curry or chickpea and lentil soup, and some foods much more ‘spring’ like? Well I am going for the spring option today, we’ve had some glorious warm weather recently although I haven’t spent much time outside in it, and the daffodils are well and truly emerging now.

Spring is most definitely in the air…happy times!

Recipe: Pesto polenta bruschetta

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

  • Quick cook polenta
  • Water (amount varies depending on how much polenta used- see polenta packet instructions)
  • 2-3 tbs pesto divided between polenta and the topping
  • 1 onion- chopped finely
  • 2 handfuls tomatoes- chopped
  • Half a red pepper- chopped
  • 2 handfuls spinach
  • A few sprigs of fresh basil
  • Vegan parmesan- optional

Method:

Cook the polenta according to the packet instructions and then pour/spoon immediately into a lined loaf tin (size based on the amount of polenta you’ve cooked up). Allow to cool and set in the fridge.

Once set, cut into 1cm thick slices before frying on a griddle for approx. 5 minutes. each side to achieve a slightly golden crisp coat (mine should have had a little longer ideally). You couod oven bale the polenta.

Note any extra polenta can be stored in the fridge for a few days prior to its second cooking.

Meanwhile, prepare the bruschetta topping by combining all the remaining ingredients and toss together with the remaining tablespoon of pesto. 

If serving the polenta hot, heat the topping through before spooning over.  Alternatively, both polenta and topping can be served cold.

Dust with a little vegan parmesan if desired.

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Pesto

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.

Recipe: Vegan Pesto

Makes one jar

Ingredients:

  • 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
  • 1/3 cup
  • nutritional yeast
  • 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)

Preparation:

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)

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