Monday, May 20, 2013

"Cheesy" Paleo Pesto

If you ask me to try to recreate or tweak a dish for you, I'll never say no. I love the challenge and having friends and/or readers engaged and curious to see if I can deliver.
I recently shared my favorite paleo pesto, which is essentially a traditional version of the sauce with the dairy simply omitted. It's simple, fresh and perfect. A reader sent me an email, though, and asked if I'd ever tried adding nutritional yeast to the equation. She's a longtime vegan who loves dabbling in dairy-free "cheese" sauces, and wanted to know if a similar take on pesto would work.

Well, I'm pleased to report the results were quite tasty! I didn't really mess with much, but rather used the equivalent amount of nutritional yeast that I would were I to include grated Parmesan. I wondered if the color of the sauce would be much different, but the deep green of the basil dominates as usual.

You can definitely taste a difference, though! The texture is a little thicker, and the taste has a more complex aspect to it. Definitely a little "cheesy," but in the best possible way.

I made my pesto with all basil today, but I'd recommend also experimenting with some or all arugula or baby spinach as well. I think walnuts would work as well as pine nuts, too.

"Cheesy" Paleo Pesto

1/3 cup raw pine nuts, toasted in a skillet
2/3 cup olive oil
5-6 minced garlic cloves
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
large bunch of basil leaves (at least 2 cups)
salt & pepper, to taste

Add all ingredients to a food processor or high-speed blender and process until smooth.

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