Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sunflower Pesto

I love pesto! So does Joe! So do the kids! It is so versatile. You can use it in place of marinara on a pizza. You can toss pasta in it. You can stuff chicken breasts with pesto and cheese. You can make little fancy appetizers with a baguette, cheese and cherry tomatoes. Catch my drift? It's just good to have around. The recipe itself is also versatile. The traditional recipe calls for pine nuts, but walnuts and even sunflower seeds (like this recipe) work well.  The original recipe also calls for Parmesan. You could certainly substitute Romano, or for you health conscious folks, skip the cheese altogether.  For you dorky, yet health conscious people, you can use nutritional yeast in place of the cheese. This not only makes your pesto vegan, but adds protein, vitamins and a delightfully cheesy taste.
I love to make the pesto and freeze it in an ice cube tray. Which, really brought back some memories from my baby food making days! This way, you have the pesto frozen into small quantities that are ready to use. I usually add a little fresh lemon juice to my pesto once it has defrosted to freshen it up.


2/3 c. sunflower seeds (pine nuts or walnuts)
5 c. loosely packed basil leaves
1 1/4 c. Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. nutritional yeast (parmesan or romano)
8 garlic cloves
Salt and pepper to taste
Pulse nuts or seeds in blender or food processor. Add remaining ingredients and pulse. Store in fridge or freezer...or use right away! Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice before using.

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