I adore fresh pesto. In the summer I make heaps of it - some to eat fresh and the rest to freeze for the coming cold months. I generally prefer a classic basil pesto but I also enjoy it made with arugula, half spinach/ basil, and even cilantro/parsley. Since pine nuts are so expensive and I've gotten rancid ones before, I opt to make pesto with walnuts but I've also made it with hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, and almonds. There are really so many options for getting creative here.
This post was originally only going to feature my favorite pesto recipe, but in the process I ended up digging several others from the Sweetly Raw archives. I thought it would be nice to give a few options to suit different items you may have on hand.
There are so many uses for pesto. I Naturally it's amazing on pizza along with tomato sauce, cashew cheese, and toppings. I like it spread on raw crackers/breads, on tomato slices, and on my morning eggs. I like to toss it with zucchini noodles for a delicious and light dinner. Chopped tomatoes and a sprinkle of hemp seeds top it all off.
Raw Vegan Pesto
This is my easy go-to pesto recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
2 -3 cloves garlic
3 cups well packed basil
1 cup walnuts
1/2 - 2/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon himalayan salt, or to taste
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, optional
Finely chop the garlic in a food processor.
Add all other ingredients starting with 1/2 cup olive oil. Add the sunflower seeds if you prefer an extra thick pesto (most of the time I make it without them). Process until everything is broken down.
Store in the fridge for a few weeks or freeze for a few months.
While this raw tomato sauce isn't a pesto recipe, it does go hand in hand with it. They go so perfectly together on pizza, crackers, or noodles. I also want to post this tasty sundried tomato sauce here as I'm going to slowly post savory recipes from Sweetly Raw onto this new blog. It's a kicked up version of regular raw tomato sauce.
Chunky Raw Sundried Tomato Suace
1/2 cup packed sun dried tomatoes, soaked 3-6 hours
1 cup diced fresh tomato
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
6 kalamata olives, pitted
1 small clove garlic
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
2 tablespoons packed fresh basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Squirt of lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
Large handful chopped parsley
Process all ingredients except the parsley and salt, in a food processor until still a little chunky.
Stir in the fresh parsley. Season with sea salt, to taste.
Toss with spiralized zucchini noodles.
Zucchini noodles with sundried tomato sauce, pesto, and moose meatballs. A hearty "paleo meets raw" meal!
Parsley Pesto Salad Dressing
Here's a recipe I made in the summer of 2009 as part of this post with an abundance of parsley and basil in my outdoor herb garden.
2 cups packed basil
2/3 cup packed parsley
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup walnuts
2-3 large cloves garlic
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, to taste
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
Mix all ingredients in a blender, leaving some texture, or until smooth if desired.
Use as a salad dressing or dip for crackers/veggies.
Spinach Basil Pesto
Here's a yummy pesto I made in this post in 2010 for some veggie wraps. Packed with spinach and much lower in fat than most pestos, this is great over zucchini/kelp noodles, salad, crackers, or veggie sticks.
2 1/2 cups packed spinach
3/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
3 Tablespoons hemp seeds
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
2-3 Tablespoons water
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 large clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt
In a food processor, blend all ingredients into a paste.
Taste, adjust salt.
For a Pesto Dip, blend some pesto with a bunch of spinach!
What's your favorite pesto recipe?