One item that has been difficult to find in Mallorca so far is good pesto. The large supermarkets have one brand (if they have it at all), and it's the kind that comes all packaged in bright colors and bubbly lettering, and you have to wonder how long it has been sitting on the shelf. Weeks, months?
So, naturally, I took it as a sign from the universe. Honey, stop buying the store-bought ones loaded with preservatives and start making the real stuff from scratch. (Don't ask me why the universe just became a Southern Belle, it just did.)
On Sunday I went to the farmer's market and stocked up on fresh basil. And, as it usually happens, as soon as I got home I realized that I had a ridiculous amount of basil leaves and didn't have any pine nuts. Or cheese.
But I was determined to make pesto without running out to the store again which only meant one thing: Time to get creative.
I had just bought a big bag of almonds, so I decided to substitute the pine nuts for almonds. And as for the cheese - well, I had a bag of nutritional yeast that I found at a small health food store in town (Halleluah, one is in walking distance to me!). I was a little wary about all the substitutions, but it not only turned out to be delicious but super healthy too.
Almonds are a great source of protein and are packed with good fat - the kind that helps with brain function and has also been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. Holla for a super food! Pair that up with an extra dose of protein and the delicious flavor of nutritional yeast, and we're in business.
Pesto is one of those great items you can just throw into the food processor and bam - you have a delicious spread in minutes. For those on a time crunch but looking to add a little kick of flavor to your cooking, pesto is always a great option.
We have a small food processor at home which turns out to be perfect for a week's worth of pesto - great for a spread on sandwiches or on a lettuce wrap, mix in with pasta, or (my favorite) on GF veggie pizza (made with a garbanzo bean crust - recipe to come to the blog soon!).
Almond Pesto (GF/Vegan)
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1 tightly packed cup fresh basil
- 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup raw unsalted/non-toasted almonds
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 2 tbs water
- 2 tbs nutritional yeast
1. Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth. Note: For a thicker pesto, use less water.
2. Enjoy as a spread on a sandwich or lettuce wrap, mix with your favorite pasta, or use as a substitute for tomato sauce on pizza.