A couple of bucks got me a huge bundle of basil at the Farmer’s Market last week. (hi-five on that alliteration)
I made caprese salads three days in a row, but as the week went on, and I wasn’t making a dent in my herbal bouquet, I figured I better make a pesto before all the glorious greens started to brown.
It seems so trendy to call things “vegan” these days, and I hate being trendy; but I didn’t know a more concise way to convey that there is no cheese in this pesto. “Cheese-less pesto” or “pesto sans cheese” just sound weird.
I made this pesto in the morning and then used it later that day for a Walnut Pesto Chicken Pasta with Broccoli for dinner.
The pasta was easy … I roasted chicken a la Ina Garten, chopped up a fresh ball of mozzarella, and roasted broccoli with a little olive oil. Sure I could have simply blanched or sautéed the broccoli, but there’s something about roasted broccoli that I just can’t get enough of these days. The edges become toasty and buttery and it really transforms into something special. Scatter parmigiano over top with a heavy hand and you’ve got a meal on its own. But I digress …
We had fresh pesto pasta from “our pasta lady” at the Farmer’s Market so that didn’t take but 3 minutes to boil. Then it was just assembly. Drain pasta and place back in pot. Pour in some pesto and a little reserved starchy water and stir. Then dump in chicken, broccoli, mozzarella and more pesto, as needed.
This pasta was SOOooo good! A delicious and healthy dinner for me and my best gal pals.
We were all eatin’ pasta like this …
But it was really like this …
This pesto is nice to have on-hand when you need a good meal quick. It could be used in all kinds of pasta dishes, over chicken, burgers or veggies … it would be great for a homemade pizza base too!
Vegan Walnut Pesto
- 2 cups fresh basil
- 2-3 fresh garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup walnuts, could toast for extra nutty flavor
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 large or 2 small)
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, amount depends on preferred consistency
- 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- freshly ground pepper
Place basil, garlic, walnuts, and lemon juice into your blender or food processor. Pour a little olive oil in just to get things going and then blend until nuts and basil are finely pureed. Add in red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and begin pouring in olive oil through a top in a steady stream while you blend. You could also just dump all of the olive oil in and blend it all up, it works fine either way.
Note: these ingredient amounts can and should be adapted to suit your preferences. I rarely measure ingredients for pesto, but rather test out the flavor as I go. It all depends on how garlicky, lemony, nutty, or spicy you like your pesto. Also, how thick or thin you like the consistency. Just play around with it and it will be easier and more natural every time.