Vegan Walnut Basil Pesto

>> Monday, July 16, 2012

For how much I love the stuff, you'd be surprised to learn that I've only made pesto a couple times in my life. Our food processor is back on the mend (OK. I discovered that the "problem" with it was user-error -- oops!). And this weekend's CSA basket came teeming with all the right ingredients.

HOORAY for local garlic and basil!

(NOTE: Several of you have asked us which food processor we have, it's the Cuisinart Pro Custom 11-Cup -- great for making anything, including nut butters! It's a great deal for such a heavy-duty machine, too.)

(ANOTHER NOTE: We also used to have the small Kitchen Aid 4-cup, but it died a year after we got it, so I don't necessarily recommend it.)

Like I said, I've only made pesto a couple times, and I've never made it with pine nuts. Actually, I rarely have pine nuts on hand -- but one of my friends suggested trying walnuts. I've been hooked ever since.

Bonus! We have walnut oil we bought at Home Goods for the full experience.


What you'll need . . .

  • 3/4 cup walnuts (or pine nuts)
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves (loosely packed)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped up a bit
  • 1/2 cup walnut oil (or olive oil)
  • Salt, pepper -- to taste

Method . . .

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. In a rimmed baking sheet, spread your walnuts and then roast for 5 minutes. Stir. Roast another couple minutes, until you can smell 'em. Then set aside to cool completely.
  2. Microwave or boil a cup (or so) of water and then "shock" the basil (helps keep the green color longer) by placing it in water for 10 seconds. Then immediately pour into colander and rinse with cold water and pat dry with a tea towel.
  3. In a food processor, combine all ingredients. Then pulse until well combined. You may need to scrapes the sides a couple times to get everything incorporated. 
  4. Store in an air-tight container for 2-4 days in the refrigerator for use or freeze in ice cube tray for the future.
Makes enough to fill an 8-ounce Mason jar.

We used ours as pizza sauce (not shown). Atop toast with fried eggs. As sauce for a tofu stir-fry with napa cabbage and onions. And as flavoring for hummus (to accompany a Mission Wrap lunch "pizza").

Just plop in a couple tablespoons and you're good to go!


Basil-Pesto French Toast
Pesto French Toast, II -- with Avocado Butter
Pesto Quiche with Oatmeal Crust
Pesto Garlic Knots
Pesto Portabella Sandwiches
(Pesto) Smothered Mother

Today on Writing Chapter Three, I have shared 10 ways to Start Fresh in under 5 minutes. If you've ever wanted a do-over on your diet, exercise, or life -- you should check 'em out. And if you have tips to share, we'd love to hear them!

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