How To Make Healthy Vegan Pesto
Pesto is not just a pasta sauce! And you can make your healthy vegan version of it! Read on to learn more about it!
Pesto is a bright green Italian sauce that’s generally served with pasta. Classic pesto is made with fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese.
Pesto is full of antioxidants! Basil and garlic in pesto are excellent sources of antioxidants that can prevent serious illnesses like cancer from developing. Pine nuts in pesto can normalize your blood pressure and keep your arteries healthy. Pesto is also rich in vitamins, minerals, magnesium, and omega-3, all of which are highly beneficial for heart health.
Here are some tips to make the best vegan pesto at home;
- Toast the nuts! Pesto recipes usually mention pine nuts, but you can switch them with your choice of nuts.
- Regardless of which nuts you’re using, toasting them will give the pesto a rich, roasted flavor!
- Over chopping the basil leaves or the blender’s heat can cause the basil leaves to turn brown. To avoid this, you may want to add them last and do not over-process it.
Use fresh basil! Dried basil has a different flavor than the fresh ones. Using fresh basil will make your pesto more creamy simply because fresh leaves have more moisture.
There are many ways of using pesto in the kitchen! Here are some delicious vegan ideas;
- Spoon it onto your pizza,
- Salad sauce,
- Crispy bread dip,
- Grilled vegetable sauce,
- Pasta sauce.
Vegan Pesto Recipe
Here’s a simple vegan pesto recipe.
- ½ cup roasted pine nuts
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- One garlic clove
- ¼ tsp salt
- A dash of ground black pepper
- 2 cup basil leaves
- ¼ cup virgin olive oil
- Mix the pine nuts, salt, pepper, garlic, and lemon juice in the blender and blend until smooth.
- Add the basil and blend again until it’s homogeneous.
- While blending the ingredients, add olive oil, and keep mixing.
- If you want your pesto to be smoother, you can add more olive oil.
You can always adjust the recipe according to your taste. You can use kale, arugula, parsley, or spinach with basil. (half-half ratio). You can try using walnuts, cashew, almonds, or even sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts. If you want your pesto to be cheesy, you can add 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast.
13 Easy Recipes You Can Make with Pesto
Here are some different recipes you can make with vegan pesto.
Pesto Butter: Mash together ¾ cups of pesto and 4tbsp of vegan butter.
Sweet potato with Pesto: Bake sweet potatoes at 425F for 40 minutes. Cut them diagonally and spread with pesto butter.
Ricotta Pasta: Mix 1 pound of cooked orecchiette with ½ cup of pesto, ½ cup of cashew ricotta, ½ cup of grated vegan parmesan. And add 1 cup of chopped steamed broccoli.
Pesto Salad: Mix 12 ounces of cooked penne with 4 cups of sliced steamed vegetables, 1 cup diced vegan mozzarella cheese, ¾ cup vegan pesto, ¼ cup vegan parmesan cheese. Top up with roasted almonds.
Green Beans: Mix 1 pound of steamed green beans with 3 tbsp pesto and ½ lemon juice.
Pesto Peas: Cook 4 ounces of vegan bacon with olive oil until crisp. Add 1 cup of water and 1 bag of frozen peas. Simmer for 10 minutes and add 3 tbsp pesto.
Pesto Succotash: Cook 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes, 5 cups of corn, 1 tbsp soft vegan butter, and ¼ cup chopped onions for 5 minutes. Add ¼ cup heavy cream and 2 cups of cooked lime beans. Heat through and stir in 2 tbsp of pesto.
Tomato Soup: Cook ¾ cup chopped shallots with fresh thyme and vegan butter. Add 1 large can of crushed tomatoes, 1 ½ cups of water, ½ cup cream, and simmer for 20 minutes. Puree and add 3 tbsp pesto.
Mash Pesto: Boil 3 pounds of peeled potatoes until tender then mash with ½ grated parmesan cheese, ¼ cup olive oil, 1 cup soy milk, and 3 tbsp pesto.
Croutons: Mix 4 cups of bread cubes, 3 tbsp pesto, and 2 tbsp olive oil. Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 350F for 20 minutes.
Cornbread: Prepare an 8.5 ounce of box-cornbread and add 3 tbsp of pesto into the batter.
Hummus: Mix 2 tbsp pesto with 1 cup of hummus and top it off with mint, paprika, and nuts.
Potato Salad: Boil 2 pounds of quartered potatoes in salted water for 15 minutes: mix 1 lemon’s juice, 3 tbsp pesto, and 1 cup vegan mayonnaise. Once the potatoes are cooled, add them into your mix with 1 cup of diced celery.
In conclusion, pesto is not only delicious, but it’s also good for your health. You can use it in all kinds of dishes. Try some of the recipes given above, and don’t forget that you can always experiment with pesto!vegan [ay
Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below! Which pesto recipe is your favorite?