Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Simply The Pesto - Vegan Parsley and Walnut Pesto

I've been digging around in my old recipes, and found that most of my stand-byes are most certainly not vegan. What's so great about being a vegan in 2010 is that there are so many great options for substitutions. I've been having so much fun veganizing old favorites. I picked up my first bottle of vegan grated parmesan the other day at the store, and ran across an old recipe today for my favorite pesto. Of course the original has "real" parmesan, but I couldn't tell a difference. Pesto in it's many variations is such a wonderful sauce. You can put in on pasta, as a spread for a yummy sandwich, or it is fantastic as a sauce for a pizza.

Tonight I boiled up a box of whole wheat linguine, sautéed some mushrooms, added a few handfuls of spinach, and tossed it all together with about half of this recipe's pesto. Serious Yum!  I love using parsley here instead of basil for a change because it's just so stinkin' good for you. 1 cup has 20 % of your iron, and over 100 % of your daily vitamin A and C.  Major bonus!

Vegan Parley and Walnut Pesto

4 Cups Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley (or one large bunch)
1/2 C. Toasted Walnuts
1/2 C. Vegan Parmesan
2 Garlic Cloves, pressed
Juice of one Lemon
1-2 t. Lemon Zest
1/2 C. Olive Oil
Sea Salt and Ground Pepper to taste

Add parsley, walnuts, parmesan, garlic, lemon juice and zest to a food processor.  Puree until pasty. With the machine running, add oil in a slow stream.  Puree for another minute.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  If using on pasta, reserve about 1/4 - 1/2 c. of pasta water to thin out the sauce.  Enjoy :)

Nate's Two Cents: It's not the first time I've pointed this out, but one benefit of making pasta without meat is that the delicate flavors of the pasta itself, not to mention the sauce, actually get a chance to star for once.  Think about it: How else would Tom Hanks have been discovered if not for "Bosom Buddies?"  But I digress.  I found this version milder and smoother than the traditional "fleshed-out" chicken pasta I used to eat.  And if texture is a big thing for you, don't worry too much about that.  The mushrooms make a capable stunt double for any meat you might have used otherwise.

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