I absolutely LOVE the simplicity of summer foods. I love being able to spend time outside enjoying the warmth and sunshine and not spending heaps of time in the kitchen.
For years I stayed away from most pesto's because they typically have some form of dairy in them. Several years ago I started experimenting and making my own fresh pesto with basil from my garden, and freezing it for the winter. Simple, easy, and delish!!
Pesto is one of those things that is so versatile. I like using it on pasta, pizza, and sandwiches. It's just so good.
Pesto (vegan style)
- Fresh Basil
- Walnuts (I like the creamy texture these give pesto..pine nuts are the traditional option but they are so expensive and when making a big batch walnuts are more cost effective and I would argue better)
- Olive oil
- Sea Salt (to taste)
This is one of those recipes I don't measure exact amounts and instead play and add and taste as I go. Everyone's tastes are so different. We love heaps of garlic so I would add lots of it but for some that would be to much and overpowering. So I like to encourage experimentation! See what tastes good to you and your family.
Often I will toss a couple kale leaves into my pesto batches as well. This is perfect for giving it an even more vibrant green color and to add the nutritional power punch of extra leafy greens. Our motto around here is that you can never have to much kale.
Another optional addition is nutritional yeast, which is not the same as your regular yeast that you bake with. Nutritional yeast can be found at health food stores and is great for it's supply of B vitamins. It also helps create a creamy texture and adds some additional goodness.
Pesto is fabulous to make in big batches and freeze for use in the winter months. I just pour it into ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen I pop them out and put them in ziploc bags for use throughout the year. One little tip is that it may be best to put a few cubes of pesto in a snack size bag or smaller bag and then put those bags in the bigger gallon ziploc bags. I've found sometimes when I put to many cubes in the big bags, they start to stick together and become a little harder to break apart. So separating them is helpful and makes it a lot easier to pull out a few at a time when needed. And remember with pesto, a little goes a LONG way.
The following is one of our family favorites of the summer. It's easy. It's loaded with goodness. My kids eat it and love it. My husband and I love it. Everyone's happy!
Veggie Pesto Pasta
- Veggies of choice (this particular one we did kalamata olives, sun dried tomatoes, broccoli)
- Pasta ( We personally love the Tinkyada brown rice pasta varities)
This is also quite delicious served with some bruschetta and your favorite bread.