Creamy Vegan Pesto

½ cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
2 medium cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons good olive oil
2 Tablespoon water
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
Zest of 1 lemon and 2 tablespoons of juice.
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Makes about 1 cup
In a food processor, blend the cashews until well pureed. Add the remaining ingredients and process until nice and smooth. Serve tossed with whole grain or quinoa pasta or as a dipping sauce for grilled or roasted meat, chicken or fish or vegetables. If serving with pasta, add a few tablespoons of the pasta water to loosen the sauce. If storing in the refrigerator the top may oxidize but the color will not affect the flavor. If you prefer when using you can scrape the top off a bit with a spoon.

Tips & Notes:

Substitute parsley, mint or arugula for the basil or add a mixture of herbs.

You can use the cashews un-soaked if you have not prepared ahead, the sauce will not be as creamy but it will still be delicious!

Substitute Parmesan cheese for the nutritional yeast if dairy is not an issue.