Vegan Pesto

Vegan pesto

I absolutely adore this vegan pesto and think it’s just as tasty as its cheesy counterpart. Or dare I say, even more so!

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When I thought pesto previously, it was always the cheese filled version that came to mind. If we’ve not had the discussion before, I am a complete and utter Italofile and feel just at home in Italy as I do in Australia. It was in Italy of course that I first fell in love with pesto and then was lucky enough to have a friend’s Mum teach me how to make it at home. How I delighted in making my very own jars of it….. how annoyed my stomach was that I was having so much dairy!

Lets face it, if you’re a pesto fan there’s no having a ‘touch’ of pesto on anything. It’s lots of pesto on everything! When you have a dairy intolerance, that doesn’t work out so well for you. It may have taken me far more years than I care to admit to, but I’ve finally come up with a vegan pesto that tastes SO good I don’t think I will miss the original so much. I did in fact, just say that out loud.

Something I love about making dips and sauces like my chimichurri and this vegan pesto is, all the ingredients remain raw. Literally living foods full of vitamins, minerals and a stack of other nutrients that contribute greatly to our health. The basil, garlic, nutritional yeast and olive oil in particular here all offer us an abundant source of nourishment. Between them they help to reduce inflammation, support heart health, reduce blood pressure, support brain health, boost immune function and assist with mood disorders. All this from one little jar of pesto!

Did you know that you get some of the best health benefits garlic has to offer when it’s in its raw form? How hard is it to eat raw garlic though? Not very hard at all if it’s in this vegan pesto that’s for sure and certain! I’ve taken to having it by the spoonful straight from the jar…. for medicinal purposes, naturally.

Just a note too, the olive oil you choose will make an enormous difference to the flavour of pesto. I absolutely love the Frantoi Cutrera – selezione Cutrera – cold extracted olive oil that I get from Pioik Bakery in Pyrmont. I have also used Nolans Road Robust and love that too. Anything you like will be fine but I always think it’s best to like the flavour of the oil if you’re just trying some on its own. I don’t think any amount of other ingredients will mask a bad / rancid olive oil.

So then, have you tried pesto without the cheese before? Let me know in the comments. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

Vegan pesto

Vegan Pesto Hand

Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch of basil (leaves only, roughly 2 cups)
  • 1 – 2 cloves of garlic*
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (I used Honest to Goodness)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts**
  • 1 tsp shiro miso (I used Spiral Foods)
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp salt (start with the smaller amount and add more to taste)

Directions

  1. Remove the basil leaves from the stems then wash and pat dry
  2. Add the garlic, pine nuts and a handful of basil leaves to a food processor and blend on high for a few seconds. In a Thermomix this was speed 7 for 3 seconds
  3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl then add the rest of the basil, nutritional yeast, white miso and salt along with a splash of the olive oil then blend again. Thermomix speed 7 for 3 seconds
  4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and start blending again, slowly drizzling in the olive oil until it’s all included. Thermomix speed 3 for 40 seconds
  5. Enjoy over gluten-free pasta, spaghetti squash, as a dip or over roast vegetables. Stores in the fridge for up to one week (if it lasts that long!).

* For a low fodmap version you can leave out the garlic but try adding in a little asafoetida, which will give you a garlic flavour, or use some garlic infused olive oil. I would suggest 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup garlic infused olive oil if trying this or it may be too pungent. Experiment though and see what you like.

** For a nut free version replace the pine nuts with pumpkin seeds

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