Creamy, Dreamy Vegan Pesto

My garden has a life of its own.  Naturally!  It’s a garden, out there in the front yard, planted in lovely organic compost and rich soil.  Honestly, it’s my dream garden— well, almost.  I somehow thought I was supposed to plant summer squashes and zucchini, so I did.  And every morning when I pop out of my front door to run, bright yellow and vibrant green squash have grown overnight and beg to be pulled from their vines.  As it turns out, these are not my favorite vegetables growing here in my garden.  We are even eating them raw in salad, just to be rid of them.  I can’t be even be bothered to turn on the grill anymore, or to grate them and hide them in cake.  I give them to anyone who happens by, smiling as they willing take these plump garden burdens from my hands.  Next year it’s going to be green beans and peas.  And definitely more basil.

The basil.  Oh, the basil!  It has grown almost waist-high!  These thick, bushy plants with broad, perfect leaves stand up to the garden hose with a bravery generally reserved for sturdy, pesky dandelions.  Once a week, even on the couple of little overnight breaks when I was taking care of my mom and dad, I sneak up on it with my garden scissors and cut it back.  What happy basil!  A week after a cutting, it has doubled in size.  The first time I cut it back, I managed to eke out a cup of pesto.  The second time, three cups.  The third, five cups, and with yesterday’s cuttings, which filled my wicker gathering basket (I have to use that basket for all harvesting— it makes me feel like a real gardener), I made eight cups of pesto!  I have dreamed of basil plants like this.  Really.

Pesto makes almost everything taste better.  I put it on crackers, toast, pasta, grilled or roasted vegetables, and even use it as pizza sauce.  I thought leaving the cheese out of the recipe would make a big difference in the taste, but I don’t miss it at all, and neither does my family.  Pesto adds a summer freshness to soups, too.  On cold winter days, defrosting pesto and adding a couple of tablespoonfuls to my mom’s minestrone recipe or to my lentil or bean soup brings the taste of my favorite season right into my bowl and my happy mouth.

Creamy, Dreamy, Vegan Pesto:

In large food processor: mince 1 large clove of garlic. Add 3 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves, a big fistful walnuts, and 1/4 c nutritional yeast. Process until basil is mostly chopped. Drizzle in about 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, and add more until you like the consistency. You can substitute 1/4 cup water for some of the olive oil if you are anxious about the fat calories, but remember that olive oil is one of the good fats!  Keeps 5-7 days in fridge, or about 9 months in the freezer.

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2 Comments on “Creamy, Dreamy Vegan Pesto”

  1. Thanks Elizabeth again for the pesto recipe. I have been freezing massive amounts of it. Love the taste, goes with so many things.

  2. Craig Says:

    That pesto is SO yum. I will have to take a photo of you standing among your basil bush buddies. They are huge!

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