Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Oil-free Vegan Pesto and The Vegan Cheat Sheet Giveaway!

Chef Aj, this one's for you!

Ever since Chef Aj came to visit our home in Cleveland and I fed her the most delicious of all delicious food, Jane Esselstyn's Dr. Seuss Polenta Stacks (for recipe, see My Beef with Meat by Rip Esselstyn), Aj has been asking me about this pesto. 

You see, pesto is not what is called for in Jane's original recipe for Polenta Stacks, but pesto is what I had on hand before Chef Aj's visit. So I used it instead of the OMG Walnut Sauce (which is truly OMG IMHO) that Jane calls for in the recipe. 

The result was outstanding, and I've been meaning to give Aj the oil-free pesto recipe ever since. I'm sorry it's taken this long, but better late than never, right?

If you've got a garden, it's about now that you are probably overloaded with basil for the season. So I've got a whole bunch of ideas for things to do with this pesto (see below) and I can't wait to start experimenting with it.

Oil-free Vegan Pesto
yields 1 cup +

2 cups tightly packed fresh basil
1 to 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped (to taste)
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth
Sea salt (or not) to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste

Place the basil, garlic, walnuts, pine nuts, lemon juice and nutritional yeast in a food processor fitted with the S blade. Pulse to combine, until the mixture is coarsely ground.

Turn the motor on and drizzle the vegetable broth in a thin stream. Taste, Add the sea salt (or not) and pepper to taste. Pulse a few more times to combine.

12 Fun Things to do with Oil-free Pesto:
  • On pasta, of course, the whole wheat or brown rice variety.
  • As a sandwich spread. Use grilled veggies like eggplant, zucchini and red pepper as the "meat" of the sandwich.
  • Stir it in with some white beans and finely chopped veggies for a tuna salad alternative.
  • Dollop it on top of a naked baked potato and steamed veggies.
  • Make a pesto pizza--use a prepared whole wheat crust and your favorite veggies. No cheese required!
  • Brush it on top of corn on the cob.
  • Spoon it on top of steamed broccoli, steamed cauliflower or steamed green beans.
  • Make a cold pasta salad, veggie loaded of course!
  • Make a pesto potato salad.
  • Make a pesto hummus.
  • Make a pesto salad dressing by stirring it with a little vinegar.
  • Make pesto mashed potatoes.
The sky really is the limit with pesto. And now that we know it's lick-your-fingers-good even without the oil, what are we all waiting for?

And now for the contest . . .

One lucky commenter will win a copy of Amy Cramer and Lisa McComsey's new book The Vegan Cheat Sheet! Check it out here on Amazon for a description and reviews. It's a great read for the newbie aspiring Vegan. I had the opportunity to hear a promotional tour talk yesterday at Heinan's Grocery Store in Mayfield Village, OH and I can tell you that Amy is very passionate about spreading the Plant-strong love.

Amy has graciously agreed to give away one copy of her new book. Just leave a comment with the answer to the following question:

What's your favorite thing to do with pesto? If you are not a regular pesto user, which idea (from the list above) is most tempting to you? To leave a comment/view the comments, please click on the title of this post (the orange text above).

One winner will be chosen at random. Contest closes on Friday, July 26th at 12 pm EST. Winner will be announced the week of July 29th.

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