Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I'm Green with Pesto

This week is what I like to call a creative cooking week. My human food budget was a little tighter, so creativity is a must. I don't really mind, some of my best tasting dishes have come by throwing what I have together, adding some seasoning, and calling it a dish.  And I can never recreate it because I don't write anything down. Well, thanks to having a blog, I'm slowly getting better about taking kitchen notes. I wanted pasta yesterday, and I had some odds and ends of some fancy olives from the olive bar, some kale, and my precious, pricey hempseeds. Could I blend these things into a chunky, hearty pesto? The answer is yes, with the help of some garlic, nutritional yeast, and seasoning. The result is a hearty, winter like pesto. Perfect for whole wheat pasta, or hearty grains like faro, or barley. It would make a great pizza sauce. It would be delicious drizzled over some roasted vegetables. It would be great slathered on a toasted baguette. What I'm trying to say is, this pesto is super delicious! I love it when I accidently make something so delicious, and I love it more when I pull it out of my arse.  Eating healthy, and super satisfying vegan food can be a simple as throwing a few scraps together, boiling some noodles, and feeding your face.
I'm sure this would work with any hearty greens like collards, or chard. It would also work with spinach of course. If you do make this, I recommend making it in the morning, or even the night before you're going to use it. The longer the garlic and olives mingle together, the better. And the great news is that kale doesn't oxidize and turn brownish the way basil does. The recipe I made yields about a cup and a half of pesto.

                                                          Kale and Hempseed Pesto

                                                            1 cup chopped kale
                                                           15 lg. mixed olives (Kalamata, olive stuffed, green)
                                                             2 minced garlic cloves
                                                             2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
                                                              2 Tbsp. hempseeds
                                                               2 Tbsp. olive oil
                                                               Juice of half a lemon
                                                               S& P to taste
                                                               1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)

 I made mine in my blender, so I started with a little less than 1/4 cup of water, to get everything moving and grooving. If you have a food processor, just keep pulsing, and scraping the sides down till it's the texture of a chunky sauce. You might need to add more oil or water, a little at a time to make it all come together. If using a blender, start with the small amount of water, add the rest of the ingredients, and blend at a pretty high speed, (I used the smoothie setting on my blender) until you have a sauce. the texture is kind of up to you. I made mine smooth, with a little chunkage in there. You could make it smoother if you wanted to use this a more of a dipping/ drizzling sauce.
It really is tasty, and a good way to sneak greens in. The  olives, lemon and garlic are really the stars of this sauce, the kale really is there for color, and of course nutrition. This is my first time making a pesto with hempseeds, and I will use them again. The hempseeds combined with the nutritional yeast  make the pesto so rich and cheesey you don't really need a ton of oil. I mixed this pesto with some whole wheat fettuccini noodles, and it was so satisfying. So many winter meals are so heavy. This was hearty, and satisfied that winter craving, but it wasn't heavy like a casserole. I'm super glad I wrote this recipe down!

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