Weekday Vegetarian: Dairy Free Pesto
Photo: Kelly Rossiter
I love the taste of traditional basil pesto with the lusciousness of the butter and two cheeses, but if you are vegan, or if you are trying to cut down on saturated fat out in your diet, you're not going to eat it. Here is a recipe that gives you all of the body of pesto, but without any dairy. It's made with white miso and that simple substitution makes all the difference. The miso makes for a slightly sweeter pesto, but that is the only thing about it that would indicate that it's any difference from regular pesto.The other change in this recipe which I really liked was the use of pepitas rather than pine nuts. Aside from the fact that pepitas cost significantly less than pine nuts, you won't run into the dreaded "pine mouth" which makes everything taste extremely bitter. Pine mouth can last anywhere from a day or two to a couple of weeks, and it's really unpleasant. I can tell you, it really makes you think before you use pine nuts in anything.
This would freeze really well if you want to double the recipe and keep some for later. I had a little bit left over and spooned some into my vegetable soup for lunch and it added a really nice zip to it.
This recipe is from the website Limes and Lycopene.
Dairy Free Pesto
1 bunch of basil
2 cloves garlic - more if you like
1/4 cup pine nuts or pepitas
1 tablespoon white miso
1/4 cup olive oil
1. Wash the bunch of basil and pick the leaves off. Don't be too fussy about this as a bit of stalk really does not hurt. Place in the bowl of your food processor along with the garlic and nuts/seeds. Whizz together until the basil is thoroughly chopped up and it's starting to look like pesto.
2. Add the miso and olive oil. Blend for a couple more minutes, until it's thoroughly combined. Taste and add more miso or garlic if necessary.