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Justina’s Basil Pesto

  By Justina Walls  , ,

October 26, 2015

This pesto freezes beautifully, and is a delight of springtime to all your senses in the middle of a cold winter!

Ingredients

6 cups basil leaves, cleaned and dried

¼ cup nutritional yeast (not Brewer’s yeast)

5 good sized garlic cloves, ends trimmed

½ cup pine nuts

1/8 – ¼ tsp. salt

1 cup. olive oil - virgin, first pressed. (Do not use “light” olive oil, as it is not “lighter” in calories as many people think, but is only “lighter” in taste, and the quality is generally not as good.

Directions

Place basil in the bowl of food processor (this amount, pressed down a bit, fills my processor bowl).

Add nutritional yeast, garlic, pine nuts, salt, and drizzle olive oil over the top of all ingredients.

Pulse/blend until desired textured is achieved (medium to fine texture – do not liquefy.) This makes enough pesto for about 3 pounds of pasta.

If not using immediately, place pesto into containers. I use 3 containers so that each one is the right size for a pound of pasta.

After filling containers, cover surface of pesto with olive oil to maintain color and create a good seal. If freezing, put pesto into small containers such as the 8 oz. Tofutti Cream Cheese containers, or hummus containers. This pesto freezes beautifully, and is a delight of springtime to all your senses in the middle of a cold winter! May also use as a bread spread, in other recipes, etc.

Justina's Notes:
Our favorite way to use this Basil Pesto is as follow:
1 lb. Cremini Mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 lb. Penne pasta
1 container Basil Pesto (see above)
#Olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a bit of salt, and then add the pasta.
Using a large pan, sauté mushrooms in a little of the pesto, adding a bit of olive oil as needed. As mushrooms become almost done, turn heat to very low and move mushrooms to sides of pan. Pour the pesto into the middle of the pan.
Drain the pasta (reserving a cup or so of the pasta water), and then pour pasta into the pan with the mushrooms and pesto. Mix everything to combine. Add a bit of the pasta water if needed to obtain the desired consistency. We add additional nutritional yeast to the entire mixture as well. Serve and enjoy the delight of summertime basil!

Do you have leftovers for the next day? Of course they can be reheated! Another possibility is to arrange a bed of mixed garden salad greens, and place cold Basil Pesto Pasta on top of the salad – a lovely lunch or light dinner option!

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