Tag Archives: Pesto

How to make vegan pesto out of anything*

3 May

(*almost)

S1031856

I can’t claim that there’s anything groundbreaking about my pesto recipe. It’s just the list of ingredients that I have stuck to my fridge that I tweaked a few times until I was happy with it. I’ve wanted to post the recipe for quite a while now to show how versatile it can be if you mix it up a little bit. Fresh herbs can be quite expensive unless you grow your own or find them in the reduced section, as can pine nuts. It’s really easy to switch out the ingredients for other things to suit your meal or your budget.

2015-05-03 14.58.02

In case you can’t read my writing, here’s the recipe (makes a generous amount for two):

  • One clove of garlic, mashed to a fine paste with a pinch of salt (don’t rely on your food processor to do this for you, pesto is best a bit chunky, and chunky raw garlic is not particularly pleasant)
  • 40g leaves
  • 20g nuts/seeds/legumes
  • Half a tablespoon lemon juice
  • Another pinch of salt and plenty of pepper
  • Two tablespoons of oil
  • One tablespoon (or more) of nooch

First, put just the nuts (or whatever you’re using) in the food processor on their own and pulse a couple of times to get them started.

S1031849

Then add the rest of the ingredients…

S1031853

… and pulse a few more times until it’s just blended (i.e. not a purée).

S1031854

Here are a few examples. First, the pea-sto mark 2 – peas, a 50:50 mix of mint and basil, and olive oil:

 

The super-vegan – pumpkin seeds, kale, and hemp oil:

Pasta with kale pesto and more kale #vegan

A post shared by Mrs Veg (@mrs_veg) on

 

The classic – toasted pine nuts, basil, and olive oil:

Pesto pasta with roast cauli, peppers, white beans and broad beans.

A post shared by Mrs Veg (@mrs_veg) on

 

The English – podded and cooked broad beans, watercress, and cold-pressed rapeseed oil (here it’s mixed in to some risotto and served with more watercress):

S1031930

In my veg box this week – kale, squash, blood oranges

29 Jan

This week we have:

Kale
Very popular with vegans, thanks to its high levels of iron and calcium (amongst other vitamins and minerals). I love it stir-fried with a little chilli and garlic, maybe drizzled with a bit of tahini dressing. I also love this kale pesto recipe from low-cost recipe blogger and food poverty hero Jack Monroe (please check out her website at http://agirlcalledjack.com/). I replace the cheese with cashew nuts and a shake of nutritional yeast flakes.

Squash
I’m really happy, squash is my favourite vegetable and I’ve been getting a lot of them lately. One of the fun things about getting a vegetable box is the variety of veggies we get. We have had three squashes already this year but they’ve been completely different. This week’s squash is a pale-coloured round squash called a Blue Hubbard. I’m not a squash expert, I’ve just found a really useful website for identifying squash. I think this squash is destined for a stuffing, either with quinoa and vegetables or with spicy polenta and sweetcorn, similar to my stuffed pepper recipe.

Blood oranges
From the outside they look like a regular orange, but on the inside the flesh is somewhere on the orange-red-purple-black spectrum.  It was a bit of a shock the first time but I love them. The more colourful a fruit or vegetable is, the more phytochemicals and antioxidants it contains. Yes, it might stain your clothes if you spill any, but it will stain your insides too and that’s really good for you!

Also received this week: apples, kiwis, pears, a green pepper, a swede, some rather large parsnips, potatoes, carrots, onions.

Pesto pasta salad

19 May

I’m pretty good at making the effort to make a packed lunch to take to work, usually some salad or home-made soup. But no matter how disciplined you are, there will be some days when you find that (a) you don’t have the time (b) you’ve run out of food at home, or (c) a certain person has taken your lunchbox to work and accidentally left it there. I recently found myself in this position and decided to pop into the shop on the way to work to buy a nice healthy salad. The vegetarian choice wasn’t great that day and I ended up with this:

Image

It filled a hole, but it was a bit disappointing. It looked really good but tasted bland, didn’t have enough vegetables in it to justify calling it a salad and it was coated in an unhealthy slick some kind of green oil that claimed to be pesto dressing. I was left feeling I could have done a much better job of it myself.

So here is my version: healthier, tastier, cheaper, and not swimming in oil (recipe below).

Image

Serves 1

  • 75-100g wholewheat pasta (dry weight)
  • A good dollop of vegetarian or vegan pesto (good quality shop bought, or home-made)
  • A handful of something green and leafy, sliced (the shop version used spinach, I used chard, but anything green would be great)
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Drain and leave to cool.

Steam the green veggies, leave to cool.

Combine the pasta, greens and pesto. Top with the tomatoes and pine nuts.

Pea pesto, or as I like to call it, pea-sto (sorry).

6 Apr

Basil

It’s early April, flowers are beginning to bloom, leaves are coming out on the trees, the wildlife is getting a little frisky, and the weather is starting to think about getting a bit warmer. Yes, it’s my favourite time of year, and as it gets warmer and lighter in the evening it’s time to ditch the stodgy comfort foods and to eat something fresh and exciting that makes you feel amazing. What could be better than something full of lovely green things?

This has the added advantage of being low in fat, as some of the pine nuts are replaced by peas, and because I don’t like to use too much oil (although you could add more if that floats your boat).

This makes a generous portion for two, best served over pasta and/or some seasonal veg. Maybe some purple sprouting broccoli or early asparagus. You need a small blender, like a mini chopper or smoothie maker. Here’s the recipe.

Put the following in your blender:

One clove of garlic, crushed.

A quarter cup each of:

  • defrosted peas
  • mint leaves
  • basil leaves
  • vegetable stock

2 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts or cashews

1 tablespoon each of the following

  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • parmesan, vegetarian parmesan-style cheese or vegan nutritional yeast flakes (or anything else cheesy as you see fit)

A pinch each of salt and pepper

Blend together until just chopped, you don’t want it ultra smooth. Pour over the pasta/veg in the pan it was cooked in, heat through for a couple of minutes and serve. Yum!

%d bloggers like this: