Plant-Powered Pesto


One of my goals is to grow my own food. This was the first summer that we had a yard big enough to have some raised bed gardens – and we definitely had some mixed results with our gardening efforts this year. This spring, I started all of our plants from seed. In late May, I planted everything outside. A few days later, we were hit with a bad hail storm – garden gone. So I started the process all over again, but I think getting a late start did not help some of my plants. What did not work – tomatoes, carrots, daikon, green beans. What worked – zucchini (so much zucchini), jalapeños and basil! Our project for next year is to build a greenhouse and grow our veggies year-round – stay tuned.

I always love to plant a lot of basil, because pesto is one of my favorite foods. Basil has been proven to have some amazing health benefits. Basil is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-stress (calming), immune-booster and helps reduce pain. It’s also got high levels of magnesium and Vitamin K (good for digestive function). In Italy, basil is considered a symbol of love and is thought to be an aphrodisiac, and in Ayurveda holy basil (tulsi) is considered an “elixir of life” and is used to promote healthy sexual function and an upbeat mood.

Plant-Powered Pesto Recipe

1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)*
1/4 cup walnuts
1 clove garlic
Approx 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (to taste)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
*You can also use pine nuts, I use pepitas as they are cheaper.

In a food processor, mince the garlic clove first. Then add all of the ingredients except for the oil and start to process. Slowly pour in the EVOO until its a puree-like consistency. This will keep for a few days in the refrigerator and freezes well.

Pesto is usually tossed with a warm pesto. I have recently been using it as a condiment in bowls – this bowl shown below is made with farro, baked tofu, roasted sweet potatoes and sautéed zucchini and collards.

tofu pesto bowl

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