This Easy Vegan Pesto is one of my favorite Italian preparation. Not only can you make great pasta, but you can use it to boost the flavor of other dishes.
Sometimes I just add it to a stew, make bruschettas or add it to pizzas. I also use pesto as a sandwiches’ spread to instantly boost its flavor instead of using mayonnaise.
You can easily find pesto in stores around the world but, although they are rich in flavor and sometimes, I use it, three things made me create my version:
- Looking at the ingredient of store-bought pesto, I realized how much conservatives and chemicals they have. I like being in full control of what I put in my body.
- They have cheese, and dairy is something my body doesn’t always tolerate well.
- You can make a lot and save some money. I used to buy a lot of pesto, as I use it at least twice a week.
What is Pesto?
There are many kinds of pesto; Pesto Alla Genovese is the traditional one and consists of seven ingredients, according to il Consorzio del Pesto Genovese (the Academy of Pesto). These ingredients are Basil leaves, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Pecorino Cheese (Sheep’s milk cheese from Sardinia), Garlic, Pine nuts, Coarse Salt.
It is common to replace pine nuts for walnuts since pine nuts may be challenging to find and relatively expensive.
The standard pesto products found in Italy are Pesto Alla Calabrese (Hot Peppers), Pesto Alla Siciliane (Ricotta Cheese and Nuts), Pesto Rosso (with tomatoes). Then you have more Gourmet pestos made out of Pistachio nuts.
In a nutshell, to make a pesto, you need a Vegetable or Leave (such as Basil, Red Peppers, Tomato, Ruccola), Cheese, Garlic, and Oil. The variations come with imagination.
Easy Vegan Pesto: My Version
Here I am replacing the Cheese Component with Cheesy Nutritional Yeast. It is essential to have good quality and cheesy nutritional yeast; otherwise, it won’t make it for the recipe’s lack of cheese. Some Nutritional Yeasts are neutral or are even fruit-scented, which, of course, won’t work.
Another plus from having this vegan version is that it is dairy-free. Lactose-intolerant individuals can consume it, and nutritional yeast is packed with protein and has a very low-calorie count compared to cheese.
Basil: A Superfood
Did you know that basil is considered a Superfood?
Although basil is primarily known as a flavor enhancer, studies indicate that adding this herb to your daily diet can provide anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, Immune System Booster, anti-stress, diabetes and arthritis management properties, making it a well-rounded fighter in the battle to improve overall health. Basil may also help control stress, aging, blood sugar and blood pressure.
Now, let’s get cooking!
Easy Vegan Pesto
- Set the fire on medium-high and put the garlic cloves on a pan with a lid. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the skin, starts to burn outside. Let them cool and peel.
- Put all the ingredients on the food processor or you can also use a small blender.
- Adjust with water for fluidness or nutritional yeast for thickness.
More Italian Favorites?
Want to know more about basil benefits? Click here.
Find out more about Nutritional Yeast benefits.