Five-Minute Cilantro Lime Pesto {Vegan}

My memories of pesto go back to being a kid, when my mom grew basil in the herb garden and would make big batches of amazing pesto throughout the summer. Have you ever frozen extra pesto (or any sauce for that matter) in ice cube trays? My mom would do this and it’s brilliant — you can just pop out a cube anytime you need some pesto in your life.

Which is often.

vegan_cilantro_lime_pesto

Since getting the best gift ever — AKA my food processor — I have been known to make pesto out of any and everything. So, when I had some leftover cilantro from these Southwestern Sweet Potato Romaine Wraps with Cabot Pepper Jack Cheese, I made the obvious decision.

The only problem was that I didn’t have enough left to make full-blown cilantro pesto. Then I realized I had baby spinach in the fridge, and I could use it to extend the cilantro. And life was good again.

SIDE NOTE: I always have a giant box of organic spinach (I use Earthbound Organic) in my fridge and I recommend you do the same. I add it to eggs, use it as a salad base, add it to smoothies, soups and stir-fries, and more. It’s a great way to amp up the nutrition of your food and I find that the spinach in the plastic “boxes” stays fresh much longer than the kind packaged in bags.

Admittedly, this pesto was made to be a topper to a Coconut Curry Butternut Squash & Beet Soup that I’ll be posting later this week — I know, such a tease — but it is seriously delicious and can stand completely on it’s own. As in, I’ve been eating pesto by the spoonful. I’m not ashamed, though. You totally would do it too.

Vegan Cilantro Lime Pesto

Mix this in with eggs, add vinegar and serve as a dressing, use as a dip for veggies, eat it plain OR drizzle it over the Coconut Curry Butternut Squash & Beet Soup recipe I’ll be posting in a few days.

cilanro_lime_pesto_vegan

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 3 cups fresh spinach (such as Earthbound Organic)
  • 3/4 cup walnuts (raw or roasted, whatever you fancy)
  • 1/3 cup grapeseed or olive oil
  • Juice of 1 1/2 limes
  • 2 tsp. lime zest (about 1/2 a lime worth)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. lemon peper (or ground black pepper)

vegan_cilantro_pesto_lime

Directions:

  1. Wash cilantro and remove last 2″ of the stems (you can keep some of the stems on — they’ll all get ground up anyway)
  2. Add cilantro and remaining ingredients to a food processor. Process until smooth.

vegan_cilantro_lime_pesto

This Thursday, I’ll be posting the most perfect, six-ingredient vegan soup recipe that is even better when topped with Cilantro Lime Pesto. Get ready, kids.

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Chive and Walnut Pesto {Recipe ReDux}

Well, Mother’s Day is coming up and I figured I’d highlight one of the MANY amazing things about my Mom: her mad cooking skills. Not just the fact that she’s a great cook, but that she instilled a passion for food and nutrition in me — so much so that it’s how I make my living (and how she makes hers as a fellow RD).

So, when Recipe ReDux tasked us with creating a recipe using “treasured cookware,” I was excited to incorporate one of my Mom’s — and my — favorite, albeit extremely underrated, kitchen tools. The nut grinder.

nut_grinder

nut_grinder1

Such a simple tool yet so incredibly useful. Especially when you don’t have a food processor (wah, wah). And while I guess it’s not technically “cookware,” I still wanted to highlight it as it’s a sentimental kitchen tool for me.

While growing up we used the nut grinder for many delicious loaves of walnut banana bread and dozens of almond cookies, I wanted to use it to create a more savory recipe.

I do love a good pesto but I wanted to make an out-of-the-box, more unique version. What I created is quite possibly one of the best condiments I’ve tasted. Super-versatile, too. I spread it on tonight’s Mahi Mahi dinner but it would be delicious over vegetables, mixed in with an omelet, with olives added to make a play on a tepenade or over a boring salad. Basically, this provides an instant upgrade to any food with which it’s paired. Enjoy!

Recipe: Walnut and Chive Pesto

While this isn’t a true pesto, its components — herbs, citrus, cheese, nuts and spices — are reminiscent of one. The lime zest and juice add delicious acidity and flavor to the pesto.

walnut_chive_pesto

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup walnuts, ground {ahem, nut grinder}
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped chives
  • 1/4 cup aged white cheese (I used Quattro Formaggi from Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt

walnut_chive_pesto

Directions:

Grind walnuts using nut grinder, food processor or chop by hand.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Enjoy over fish, chicken, steak or veggies. Truly multipurpose.

 

I used the pesto as a topper for Mahi Mahi. If you’d like to do so, cook the fish (would also work well over salmon or white fish) using your preferred method. I baked it at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. In the last couple minutes of cooking, spread the pesto over the fish. This will allow the cheese to melt and the walnuts to get a little toasty.

mahimahi_with_pesto

Check out more “treasured cookware” from fellow Recipe ReDuxers by clicking on the link below!

Vegan Pesto Made With Farmed Here’s Sweet Basil

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Farmed Here‘s vertical farm – a magical place sprouting with delicious basil and arugula. Their indoor aquaponic and aeroponic growing systems are extremely innovative and I feel truly are the future of farming.

The trip left me craving more basil, especially their delicious Sweet Basil variety. And what better way to honor basil than to make it into pesto. When life gives you basil, make pesto?? For the best pesto recipe, I went to my biggest (and best) cooking influence: my Mom. I tweaked her tried and true recipe just a bit to make it vegan, substituting nutritional yeast for Parmesan cheese and adding in the juice of a lemon to freshen it up and counteract the yeasty taste.

Next on my list is to make this recipe using Farmed Here’s Lemon Basil, which has the most amazing and bright lemon flavor.

Vegan Sweet Basil Pesto

Vegan_Pesto

Farmed Here’s box actually keeps the basil extra-fresh. I used it as a house for my jar of pesto.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoon pepitas, toasted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in food processor and process until smooth and consistent.

 

Tasted scrumptious on roasted cauliflower…

Roasted_Cauliflower_with_Pesto

 

 

Farmers Market WTF: Week 3 – Carrot Tops

For most people, hearing “carrot top” conjures up images of a skinny comedian with bright red hair who totes around a trunk full of props.

For me, I imagine the leafy greens atop my carrots and think, ‘What can I do with these?’

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Purple carrots from the Green City Market

After asking the farmers at the market without much help, I took matters into my own hands to research what, if any, uses there were for my carrot tops. Check out the Carrot Museum website for some great recipes. I really loved their idea for a carrot top pesto, though I didn’t actually follow their recipe since I didn’t have the ingredients on hand.

Normally I would let you know about the fantastic nutrition of carrot tops before I delve into recipes and the like. However, there were no reputable sources to be found on the topic. That doesn’t mean that carrot tops aren’t nutritious, however. If I had to use my nutritional knowledge and background to estimate the nutrients found in carrot tops, I would say that there is potassium (promotes heart health among other things), vitamin K (involved in bone health and maintenance as well as blood clotting) and iron. Again, this is my estimation of the nutrients found in carrot tops and should by no means be taken as fact.

So, on to the recipe:

Carrot Top Pesto:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup carrot tops, rinsed, with any large stems removed
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, rinsed
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil (or more if you want a thinner pesto)
  • 3 Tbsp nuts or seeds (I used pepitas because that was all I had. Pine nuts or walnuts would be best)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until creamy.

Carrot top pesto made an excellent topping to my turkey meatballs at lunch…

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Turkey meatballs (lean ground turkey with red onions basil and herbs) over sauteed veggies and purple kale, topped with carrot top pesto. Yum!

Carrot top pesto is great on toast, too!