Raw Food Rehab

No rigid rules, labels or dogmas.... just REAL food, for your body, mind & soul!

We all know about classic pesto - basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic and olive oil, but that's really just a base blueprint for creating a truly delicious, fresh garlicky, green, taste sensation. I want to inspire you to play with the basic formula and make your own unique version with all the gorgeous, fresh ingredients that are now easily found at the market. So great for tossing with pastas, spreading into wraps or served with an assortment of freshly cut veggies. I have included some of my recipe links at the bottom, to help get your creative juices flowing!

  • Switch Up Your Greens -  Basil is the classic, but other fresh herbs like mint, parsley, cilantro (or a combination of whatever you have) works well. You can even skip the herbs and use spinach, kale, arugula or broccoli rabe. This is another great way to get more leafy greens into your diet!
  • Use Your Favorite Nuts (or Seeds) - Pine nuts are traditionally thought of as THE nut for pesto, but they can be pretty pricey. I've used pecans, almonds, walnuts, and my favorite is pistachio nuts! You can even try sunflower seeds or hemp seeds, if that's what you happen to have on hand. 
  • Invite Veggies to the Pesto Party - Add your farmers’ market finds, to the mix. I have added asparagus, bell peppers, garlic scapes, tomatoes, zucchini and black olives and usually leave the veggies just a little chunky.
  • Create Pesto to Match your Meal - Don't be afraid to get creative with your ingredients, like switching up the oil - last night I used a Native Pecan Oil I found at my local farmers' market. If you're a vegan, you can substitute nutritional yeast for the traditional parmesan cheese. I recently used a local dairy's feta cheese and it was spectacular.
  • Blend, Chop or Process - The most efficient way to create a pesto is in a food processor, but you can do it the way the Italians originally made it, using a mortar and pestle, which creates an amazing texture. It just takes a little more elbow grease on your part. You can also use a blender, just make sure not to blend too long, and then there is the old knife & cutting board method, where you just chop, chop, chop your ingredients into submission! 

Here is an example of a non-traditional pesto:

1 cup cilantro leaves and small sprigs
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves and small sprigs
1 garlic clove, chopped
One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 large jalapeño, seeded and chopped
1/3 cup oil of your choice
Sea salt

In a blender, combine the cilantro, parsley, garlic, ginger and jalapeño; blend until minced. With the machine on, gradually add the oil in a steady stream and puree. Scrape the pesto into a bowl and season with salt, to taste.

MAKE AHEAD The pesto can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Check out a few additional recipes - Pesto Poppers, Garden Fresh Pasta with Pistachio Pesto, Simple Stuffed Mushrooms, and Tomato Stacks with Wild Foraged Pesto 

Do YOU have a favorite pesto recipe you'd like to share??

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Yum !!

I really like to make that "presto pesto" you demo'd a while back. I use basil, Brazil nuts, garlic, lemon, and olive oil and miso paste to make it salty and add probiotics. It is delicious. I use it on zoodles with cherry tomatoes. Yum!

Oh, yum! My favorite is arugula pesto!

That looks good! Gotta love all the pestos... so good on a vegetable sandwich. I've never used pistachio nuts and I'm going to try that soon! :)

I do this one sometimes with hemp nuts...They add an excellent vegan protein along with good omegas.

  • 1 cup of basil leaves
  • 3 tbsp raw hemp hearts
  • 1/4 c pine nuts and or raw walnuts, or raw cashews
  • 1/4c olive oil and bit for consistency
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • pinch sea salt

Thanks for sharing Penni! Nice to hear see you on RFR. I haven't been on in ages myself. Have a fantastic day

My garden Basil and parsley is really producing a great bounty....I was just thinking about making a pesto....thanks for sharing Penni........(*_*)

Hi, Kathleen: I was wondering if you make your vegetable sandwich with a gluten free bread or if you have other neat substitutions for the bread portion to share. I've never found a gluten free bread I like so many of my sandwich stuffings are placed between two big apple circles, stuffed into a bell pepper  or rolled in lettuce leaves. I don't care for most of the dehydrated breads of chips either.  You always have great ideas! Thanks for your time : )

kathleen said:

That looks good! Gotta love all the pestos... so good on a vegetable sandwich. I've never used pistachio nuts and I'm going to try that soon! :)

I do this one sometimes with hemp nuts...They add an excellent vegan protein along with good omegas.

  • 1 cup of basil leaves
  • 3 tbsp raw hemp hearts
  • 1/4 c pine nuts and or raw walnuts, or raw cashews
  • 1/4c olive oil and bit for consistency
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • pinch sea salt

Hello Mae! I actually use the "Food For Life" breads that are made from live sprouted grains and seeds. Have you tried these Mae? I don't think the ones I eat are gluten free, but I can eat these breads and they don't bother me. I am a little sensitive to gluten. I enjoy these breads toasted.  You can purchase them at the grocery or health food stores. This brand sells quite a variety of gluten free products, but I have never tried the gluten free. These are the breads I use:

Here is the link to the gluten free products on the Food For Life webpage:

http://www.foodforlife.com/products?tid_1=All&tid=2

Hope this helps! :)


Mae Jardine said:

Hi, Kathleen: I was wondering if you make your vegetable sandwich with a gluten free bread or if you have other neat substitutions for the bread portion to share. I've never found a gluten free bread I like so many of my sandwich stuffings are placed between two big apple circles, stuffed into a bell pepper  or rolled in lettuce leaves. I don't care for most of the dehydrated breads of chips either.  You always have great ideas! Thanks for your time : )

kathleen said:

That looks good! Gotta love all the pestos... so good on a vegetable sandwich. I've never used pistachio nuts and I'm going to try that soon! :)

I do this one sometimes with hemp nuts...They add an excellent vegan protein along with good omegas.

  • 1 cup of basil leaves
  • 3 tbsp raw hemp hearts
  • 1/4 c pine nuts and or raw walnuts, or raw cashews
  • 1/4c olive oil and bit for consistency
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • pinch sea salt

Thank You, Kathleen.  I've tried the Ezekiel 4:9 several times and each time it has not set well with me.  The taste is so yummy that I kept hoping it would workout. It has the gluten added for texture  . . .  I'm guessing.  I've never seen the Genesis 1:29 but it is now on my radar thanks to your recommendation.  I'll be checking back with the Food For Life people. Been there before but not recently.  Thanks again for your time & help, Kathleen. 

kathleen said:

Hello Mae! I actually use the "Food For Life" breads that are made from live sprouted grains and seeds. Have you tried these Mae? I don't think the ones I eat are gluten free, but I can eat these breads and they don't bother me. I am a little sensitive to gluten. I enjoy these breads toasted.  You can purchase them at the grocery or health food stores. This brand sells quite a variety of gluten free products, but I have never tried the gluten free. These are the breads I use:

Here is the link to the gluten free products on the Food For Life webpage:

http://www.foodforlife.com/products?tid_1=All&tid=2

Hope this helps! :)


Mae Jardine said:

Hi, Kathleen: I was wondering if you make your vegetable sandwich with a gluten free bread or if you have other neat substitutions for the bread portion to share. I've never found a gluten free bread I like so many of my sandwich stuffings are placed between two big apple circles, stuffed into a bell pepper  or rolled in lettuce leaves. I don't care for most of the dehydrated breads of chips either.  You always have great ideas! Thanks for your time : )

kathleen said:

That looks good! Gotta love all the pestos... so good on a vegetable sandwich. I've never used pistachio nuts and I'm going to try that soon! :)

I do this one sometimes with hemp nuts...They add an excellent vegan protein along with good omegas.

  • 1 cup of basil leaves
  • 3 tbsp raw hemp hearts
  • 1/4 c pine nuts and or raw walnuts, or raw cashews
  • 1/4c olive oil and bit for consistency
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • pinch sea salt

Let me know if any of these gluten free products work out for you, Mae.

Mae Jardine said:

Thank You, Kathleen.  I've tried the Ezekiel 4:9 several times and each time it has not set well with me.  The taste is so yummy that I kept hoping it would workout. It has the gluten added for texture  . . .  I'm guessing.  I've never seen the Genesis 1:29 but it is now on my radar thanks to your recommendation.  I'll be checking back with the Food For Life people. Been there before but not recently.  Thanks again for your time & help, Kathleen. 

kathleen said:

Hello Mae! I actually use the "Food For Life" breads that are made from live sprouted grains and seeds. Have you tried these Mae? I don't think the ones I eat are gluten free, but I can eat these breads and they don't bother me. I am a little sensitive to gluten. I enjoy these breads toasted.  You can purchase them at the grocery or health food stores. This brand sells quite a variety of gluten free products, but I have never tried the gluten free. These are the breads I use:

Here is the link to the gluten free products on the Food For Life webpage:

http://www.foodforlife.com/products?tid_1=All&tid=2

Hope this helps! :)


Mae Jardine said:

Hi, Kathleen: I was wondering if you make your vegetable sandwich with a gluten free bread or if you have other neat substitutions for the bread portion to share. I've never found a gluten free bread I like so many of my sandwich stuffings are placed between two big apple circles, stuffed into a bell pepper  or rolled in lettuce leaves. I don't care for most of the dehydrated breads of chips either.  You always have great ideas! Thanks for your time : )

kathleen said:

That looks good! Gotta love all the pestos... so good on a vegetable sandwich. I've never used pistachio nuts and I'm going to try that soon! :)

I do this one sometimes with hemp nuts...They add an excellent vegan protein along with good omegas.

  • 1 cup of basil leaves
  • 3 tbsp raw hemp hearts
  • 1/4 c pine nuts and or raw walnuts, or raw cashews
  • 1/4c olive oil and bit for consistency
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • pinch sea salt

Great!  MMmmm...

Boy I love pesto...all kinds of pesto's . This recipe is going to inspire me to create something wonderful...I just love pesto...did I say that already?lol

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