There’s something about basil that screams summertime. Whether it’s paired with tomato and mozzarella, thrown into a Thai stir-fry, or spread with olive oil and sea salt over grilled goodies, it is the quintessential summery flavor. But nothing solidifies the oncoming summer season so much as pesto.
I know people who make literal tubs of pesto and freeze it for the impending potlucks. When I was little I requested it so often over the summer months that my mother, tired of making and remaking pesto on a daily basis, froze pesto in ice cube trays. Not a bad idea for the sake of speed and convenience.
I too love bringing a good pesto (on greens, on tofu, slathered on veggies, or, of course, on pasta) to potlucks. But I’ve found three main problems over the last few years. One: parmesan is not only not vegan, it’s not even vegetarian due to the unfortunate use of animal rennet. (Say it isn’t so!) Two: pine nuts in 2014 cost you your first born in currency. Which led me to three: I have a slight allergy to walnuts in which my tongue tickles, but not to pecans – isn’t that strange?
And so – behold! – The Poor Man’s Vegan Pesto
- 2 cups basil, preferably from your garden (!!)
- 1/2 cup shelled pecans
- 1-2 cloves fresh garlic, depending on who you’re planning on standing near later
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup good olive oil
- And sea salt, copious amounts
Okay, and this is where the recipe gets really complicated. Put them in a blender, and press “Blend.”
No really, in case you didn’t know already, that is how you make pesto.
I was really surprised to find that the pesto genuinely doesn’t need parmesan. Cheese lovers no doubt will argue – and I empathize – but for anyone avoiding dairy, pesto doesn’t need to be a sacrifice. It was delicious and we put it on everything and no doubt will stack up our freezer for the oncoming months.
Also, try playing with pestos! I recently made a dandelion green pesto, which was lovely, a kale pesto, and a parsley one. I’d love to try mint! Experiment with herbs and with nuts – and if you can afford pine nuts, more power to ya.