Basil Mint Pesto Recipe

Pesto is one of the easiest things to make and it is such a versatile condiment. I use it for sandwiches, over eggs, as a source for grilled veggies or fish or as a dip. I like to change up the classic version by using different herbs and nuts, sometimes I make it vegan by using nutritional yeast instead of parmesan cheese. This formula will work using the classic basil/pine nut combo or you can experiment a bit!

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Pizza with Carrot Almond Crust

We all LOVE pizza right? This recipe will give you an excuse to eat it more often…Yay! This is also an easier and faster alternative to a cauliflower crust as you don’t have to cook the carrots (as you do the cauliflower) before you make the “dough”. It’s gluten free (can be made vegan) and packed with veggies but still has that “pizza” feel without being naughty…even though naughty is good sometimes!

Carrot Pizza

This one is covered in pesto, queso fresco (that’s what I had in the fridge) and fresh cherry tomatoes.

Carrot Pizza #2This one is with tomato sauce, Greek feta, sun dried tomatoes and Cuban oregano…YUMMM!!!

 

Pizza with Carrot Crust

For the crust~
3-1/2 cups chopped carrots, unpeeled
1 cup sliced almonds
4 large cloves garlic
3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
A good pinch of salt
3 large farm fresh eggs

Optional toppings~
1 cup of your favorite tomato sauce or pesto
1/2-1 cup any cheese such as mozzarella, feta or goat cheese
Sliced cherry tomatoes or sun dried tomatoes as needed
Kalamata olives or capers
Sauteed mushrooms or spinach
Chopped fresh basil or oregano

Serves  4-8

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place carrots, almonds, garlic, 2 tablespoons of the oil and salt in a food processor fitted with the metal “S” blade. Pulse until well broken down and very fine- like the consistency of rice. Remove the lid a few times and scraping down the sides. Add the egg and pulse again until combined. Consistency should be moist but not too loose.

Line 2 baking sheets with a silicone mat or parchment paper and lightly oil with the remaining tablespoon olive oil. Divide the mixture in half. Press each half down on the baking sheet into a round and flat pizza shape about 1/4 inch thick (do not make too thin or it will break). Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the edges are beginning to brown.
Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Using a flat spatula loosen the crust from the parchment all the way around. Top evenly with desired sauce and toppings and return to oven for 6-8 more minutes. Cut and serve!

Tips & Notes~

For a crunchier texture- add 1/2-3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese to the carrot mixture. You will want to decrease the salt however.

To make it Vegan- try substituting “flax eggs” for the farm eggs.
3 Tablespoons water + 1 Tablespoon ground flax = 1 egg

 

Asparagus with Spicy Cilantro Pepita Pesto

This dish is perfect for spring! I love this pesto and it works for all sorts of applications. Bright, healthy and vibrant it will change the way you think of pesto!

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Grilled Asparagus with Spicy Cilantro Pepita Pesto

1 bunch asparagus (medium thick stalks)
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt & freshly ground pepper
A good squeeze of lemon for serving

Pesto~

2 packed cups cilantro leaves & stem
2-3 large cloves garlic
1/4 cup toasted pepitas*
3 Tablespoons lime or lemon juice
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons filtered water
A few slices jalapeño (depending on desired spice)
2 teaspoons honey
Salt to taste

Makes 4 servings

 

Preheat broiler or grill on high. If using the broiler, adjust oven rack closest to the broiler.

Cut off about 2-3 inches from the bottom ends of the asparagus and discard. Lay asparagus on a baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss well.

If you are using the broiler; place the asparagus in the oven on the top rack and broil for 6-8 minutes or until tender but firm in the middle. If you are grilling; place the asparagus on a hot grill, for about 4-6 minutes. Time will vary based on thickness of the stalks. I like mine on the snappy side.

Meanwhile, place all ingredients for the pesto in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Mixture should be smooth but not entirely pureed. Taste and adjust as you wish. Add more jalapeño for heat, citrus juice and/or salt to brighten it up.

To serve~ Place the asparagus on a large plate and top with the pesto. Garnish with the toasted pepitas and a squeeze of lemon. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Tips & Notes~

This recipe works with many different herbs such as parsley, basil, dill, mint or a mixture of them.

Change out the pepitas for sunflower seeds or any other toasted nut you like.

*To toast the pepitas~ spread out on a baking sheet and toast at 325 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. I like to use my toaster oven. You can also do this in a saute pan on the stove.

 

Zucchini Alfredo “Pasta”

This recipe is a revelation…a way to indulge and feel great about it! True alfredo sauce is one of these foods that is pretty much on the “do not eat” list. But this recipe takes it to another level, fun, delicious, unique…oh and vegan, gluten free to boot! Do not fear however…it will KNOCK your socks (or tastebuds) off!

Alfredo Zucchini

Zucchini Alfredo Pasta

INGREDIENTS:

4-5 large zucchini, ends trimmed- (about 2-1/2 pounds)
1 teaspoon salt

Sauce~
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked 4+ hours
Core of 1 grated zucchini
3 large cloves garlic
3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast*
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon reserved liquid from zucchini
1+ Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon mellow white miso paste
Salt to taste
Pinch of nutmeg
Makes 4 servings
Trim the ends of the zucchini and then julienne lengthwise on a mandolin or with a julienne peeler as far as you can go. Save the core of 1 zucchini for the sauce, and the rest for another use such as a stir fry.

Place the shredded zucchini into a bowl with the salt and toss well. Set it aside for 20+ minutes to allow the salt to draw out the liquid out of the zucchini. When you can see liquid released at the bottom of the bowl: use a clean lint-free kitchen towel or cheesecloth to squeeze the zucchini and remove excess liquid. Squeeze into a small bowl and reserve.

Drain the cashews and place in the blender. Add the remaining ingredients for the sauce and blend well. Taste and adjust salt if necessary.

Place the zucchini ribbons in a large sauté pan and heat gently over medium heat, heating it through but not cooking. Add the sauce, lightly salt and toss well. Pile onto a large platter or plate individually and top with a little drizzle of olive oil and some chopped basil or parsley if desired.

 

Tips & Notes~

Watch our Mandolin 101 video for a full demo on how to use one of my favorite kitchen tools!

This sauce also works well over whole wheat or quinoa pasta and veggies such as broccoli and cauliflower.

If you do not have the yeast you can use parmesan cheese but it will not be vegan and you will need to use less salt to season.

*Nutritional Yeast is the byproduct of the molasses brewing process. It is high in all sorts of B vitamins and has a “cheesy”flavor. You can find in heath food stores usually in the bulk section or near the spices. This is complexity different than regular yeast and is not interchangeable. You can however use brewers yeast if you cannot find but it is not gluten free.

**Miso paste is available in many grocery stores in the refrigerated section. There is white, yellow, brown and red miso. “Mellow white” or “sweet white” will be the most mild. You can however use any kind for this recipe but you may need to decrease the amount a bit if you are using a stronger one.