Pesto is vibrant green comfort food. Before trying it as a young child, I remember thinking it was some sophisticated green adult food so it would probably be gross and then trying it and instantly totally falling in love with it. I loved when it was rich, fatty and salty, yet also so herbaceous and fresh. When done right, it tastes home grown garden! When I eat this pesto, I feel the green love of the earth mama come through the herbs to nourish my body and soul.
This pesto is a vegan and sprouted version, making it more alkalizing and more easily digested than the traditional pesto! Preparing this recipe during the summer is especially magical with the abundance of greens and herbs in the garden and/or farmers market. Traditionally pesto is made with basil, but other herbs and greens love to dance in this delicious dish too! In addition to basil, I enjoy tossing in some home grown parsley, kale, and arugula, maybe a tiny bit of thyme, sage and mustard greens too. And if you’re in a state where it’s legal to grow, Cannabis leaves are great in pesto! I tried adding just a small handful of fresh Cannabis leaves (not the part that has THC). The hemp taste was present yet super subtle, it was delicious. I encourage you to explore an array of herbs and greens in this pesto, and remember to thoroughly enjoy the aromas released as you create! It’s these simple mundane things in life that can make it so delicious and magical on the daily.
Sprouted sunflower seeds are used as a base, with a tad bit the traditional pine nut, to round out the rich flavors. This pesto has no parmesan, so I’ve also added nutritional yeast, a classic flavor-enhancing ingredient in vegan foods, which brings in a hint of “cheese” flavor. The touch of raw honey brings out the sweetness and nourishing quality of the herbs.
So basically adding pesto to anything makes it better! Add it to soups, top sliced avocado, spread it on a sourdough bread sandwich, dip in raw veggies, top a baked potato, use leftovers to make a killer salad dressing…really the possibilities are infinite when it comes to pesto! If you love it as much as I do, you could make one huge batch and spruce up like 6 meals with it throughout the week. You can also make a big batch in the summer with the abundance of local fresh herbs and freeze it.
**A note about olive oil: Make sure you use a high quality cold-pressed olive oil! Olive oil is generally a scam these days so you may need to dig deep to find a brand that is truly olive oil! So sad, but it’s true, look into this book, Real Food Fake Food, or this one, Extra Virginity: The Sublime and the Scandalous World of Olive Oil for more info on what’s really going on with “olive oil” these days. This is my basic go-to daily brand of olive oil, I did the research and though it’s not organic, it is truly 100% olive oil.
¾ c sprouted sunflower seeds
1 small garlic clove
1 ½ c baby kale packed
1 c basil leaves packed
2 t raw honey
1 T lemon juice
1 T pine nuts
2 t nutritional yeast
¼ + 1 t Olive Oil
Sea Salt (optional) to taste
- Sprout sunflower seeds in advance
- Prepare basil (or other herb) leaves by removing the stems
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor for 30 seconds, or until smoothly blended. You can leave it more of a rough chop or you can blend smooth depending on your texture preference 🙂
- Serve with sprouted pasta or any other deliciousness you desire!