Any meal with pesto makes me feel rich. In the heat of late summer when the basil is bolting, I feel like a billionaire as I freeze it by the pint for winter of meal that will level up thanks to the green goodness.
I have no set recipe for vegan pesto, only guidelines which means I can always pull this recipe off with little or no planning. This is great because sometimes your eight year old daughter comes in the kitchen with an entire basket full of basil (when firmly packed filled my nine-cup food processor to the brim).
My base recipe (meaning, kid friendly and flexible for a variety of recipes) involves the following:
- Fresh basil
- Olive oil
- Cloves of garlic
- Walnuts or pecans (pine nuts are expensive and I can’t tell the difference, peanuts or almonds have too distinctive of a flavor)
- Nutritional yeast
When I make a 16 ounce jar of pesto, it takes about 7-8 cups of firmly packed basil (be sure to remove stems), 7-10 cloves of garlic, 3-4 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, enough olive oil to get my preferred consistency (on the thick side, and add more olive oil depending on how I use it later) and toss in a handful or two of nuts. I throw everything into the food processor with zero precision, run and knock the sides down a few times before pouring it into a glass container. I stir it with a knife to remove any air pockets and top with olive oil before putting on the lid and putting in the freezer. If you have more freezer space than I do, freeze in smaller glass containers.
Variation on a theme
I have been known to toss some kale into the pesto before adding it to pasta for my kids. No shame. Depending on what I’m making, I will portion out the pesto for a recipe and add other ingredients. This is likely to result in something I want to eat, and not something the kids are asking for. Lemon juice and lemon zest on angel hair pasta with extra garlic and capers…. Lime zest and juice with tons of cilantro makes for an excellent addition to almost any sandwich or a taco salad.