Thursday, September 18, 2008

Best Pesto

I heard from farmer friends on the outskirts of the city that there has already been a light frost, ending their tomato and basil crops abruptly. Although I feel we've been innundated with tomatoes & basil this year, especially a new variety of cherry tomato we tried which grew profusely and the genovese basil which was exceedingly abundant due to all the rain (I planted 40 plants for pesto!), I'm still not quite ready to end the harvest yet. So, I went out today to gather armloads of basil, and make up yet more pesto to put away in the freezer for use over the winter months.

I like to make a dairy-free version of pesto, so that it's versatile when vegan friends come to dinner. Of course, it can also be made the "richer" way using parmesan cheese and pine nuts. Either is delectable, and so easy to prepare when the basil is fresh. I also love to make up a few batches using cilantro instead of basil, and use it in bean, burrito, or egg dishes in winter when fresh cilantro is not available locally. Here's my recipe:

Best Vegan Pesto
4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
6 cloves garlic
3/4 cup olive oil
5 Tbsp nutritional yeast (or parmesan cheese)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (or pine nuts)
dash of sea salt
dash of lemon juice, optional

Blend well in food processor. Store in 2 cup containers in the freezer, or freeze in icecube trays and then store in freezer bags.

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