Vegan Walnut Pesto

EVOO. Garlic. Lemon. Sea Salt. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups basil, tightly packed
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts (with skins!)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt to taste
  • lemon juice to taste (about ½ - 1 lemon)
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast

PREPARATION

  • Blenderize: Combine basil, walnuts, and garlic in a food processor until coarsely ground. Use the S blade and pulse setting for best results.
  • Mix: With the food processor's motor turning, slowly add the olive oil, followed by sea salt, juice from 1/2 or 1 whole lemon, and nutritional yeast.
  • Adore: Check the quality via spoon. Add more salt, perhaps.  

REASONS TO LOVE

While classic pesto stars pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and pecorino sardo, we swap in walnuts, nutritional yeast, and lemon for a heart healthy, planet friendly spin on the traditional Genoese spread. The subtle sweetness of the basil balances the tannins of the walnut skin and punch of the lemon, while enhancing the umami tones from the nooch. This vegan variation packs a nutritional punch as well. Research indicates that eating 1-3 oz of walnuts regularly...

  • Provides hard to find omega-3 fatty acids, many anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, and minerals important for blood pressure regulation (e.g. potassium, calcium, and magnesium).
  • Has been shown to support heart health by lowering cholesterol (both LDL and total), helping to regulate blood pressure, and improving blood vessel functioning.
  • Can reduce the risk of chronic oxidative stress and chronic inflammation.

For further literature on the almighty wonders of walnuts, take a look at what the George Mateljan Foundation has to say about them! Though the perfect base for pizza or sweet potato pesto toast, in my opinion, this plant-based pesto requires only a spoon.