I have been playing around with creating an oil free pesto for months. I finally have a recipe that I love. It uses fresh basil as well as arugula and spinach, zucchini, garlic, lemon juice and a very small amount of nutritional yeast, walnuts and pumpkin seeds. It is incredibly delicious served on pasta, air fried potatoes, baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, white beans, and steamed vegetables. I even like to add a scoop of it to my chopped salads for a little burst of flavor. You won’t miss the oil in this recipe because it is so full of flavor and the color – oh my!
This is just the beginning to so many delicious meals in your future.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy pesto is to toss it with air fried potatoes. This can be a meal along with a salad.
It makes about 1 cup – depending on how much basil and greens you pack into the measuring cup.
What a fabulous topping for a baked potato, or a baked sweet potato. Toss some with a some white beans and serve it with some steamed greens to round out the meal.
I make it in my Vitamix Blender using the tamper to push all those greens and basil down into the blades. You can process it as much or as little as you wish. You can make it into a smooth and creamy sauce if you prefer. I like it somewhere in between. You can use raw garlic or roasted garlic. I prefer roasted garlic for it’s smooth, mellow, nutty like flavor.
Once roasted the “bite” of the raw garlic is removed and I think it really improves the flavor in the pest recipe. I put raw peeled garlic in a baking dish with 2-3 tablespoons of water. Cover the dish with foil or a glass lid if it has one. Put in a preheated oven at 400 degrees and roast until it is golden in color and soft. Check on it every 15 -20 minutes and add more water as needed. When I roast an 8 inch pan full of garlic it takes about 45 minutes – adding more water as needed just to keep the bottom of the pan moist. I divide into 1 tablespoon servings and freeze them in my Souper Cube trays. Get the printable instructions for Roasted Garlic here.
I love the color of the Pesto – isn’t it fabulous! There are just a little bit of walnuts and pumpkin seeds in this recipe. They provide a little fat that makes this have a nice texture to it. See substitutions below. It can be make with out and it still makes a delicious sauce. However, with the addition of these two nuts and seeds it becomes even more flavorful and delicious.
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I like to put a scoop of pesto on top of my chopped salads along with other toppings like mango and some baked tempeh.
How many ways are there to enjoy pesto?
Veggie Pizza – use as your sauce instead of pizza sauce
Toss with your favorite pasts – try a gluten free pasta made with legumes
Toss with zucchini noodles
Mix pesto with cherry tomatoes cut in half and persian cucumber slices
Dollop on oven roasted veggies when they come out of the oven
Use as dip for raw vegetables like red bell pepper
Use as a spread for a wrap using a large dark leafy green and sprouts, shredded carrots and other veggies
Top baked potatoes with pesto
Mix with air fried potatoes
Put a scoop on top of your chopped salads
Mix with white beans and serve with steamed greens
Spread it on corn on the cob
Arugula – use all spinach – or your favorite dark leafy greens
Spinach – use all arugula – or your favorite dark leafy greens
Walnuts – can use all pumpkin seeds, pine nuts or hemp seeds or white beans
Pumpkin Seeds – can use all walnuts, pine nuts or hemp seeds or white beans
Nutritional Yeast – optional – leave it out if you are sensitive to it
Zucchini – try an equal amount of white beans – it makes the pesto creamy
Easy Vegan Oil Free Pesto
- Vitamix Blender or food processor
- 2 cups fresh basil
- 1 cup arugula
- 1 cup spinach
- 1/2 cup zucchini, raw
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 12 cloves roasted garlic or 3- 4 cloves, raw garlic
- 1 tbsp walnuts
- 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast – optional
- 1 tsp salt substitute -optional
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Put all ingredients into a blender container and use the tamper to push the ingredients into the blades to process. You can make it coarse or as smooth as you wish. I have also made it in a mini food processor but you have to add the greens in small batches and process after each addition. It doesn't get as creamy – it will be more coarse. I find the Vitamix blender works best for me.
- Refrigerate in a jar with a lid. Lasts in the refrigerator for about 5 days. It can also be frozen. Great to freeze in the Souper Cubes in a quantity that works best for you. Freeze for up to 3 months for best quality.
Get Healthy Stay Healthy One Meal At A Time
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