Pesto is a sure sign summer is here, with it’s fresh beautiful taste. Basil also has a whole host of healing properties including anti-bactieral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging as it is filled with antioxidants…..Good news for all of us, and as easy as Pesto! I picked this beautiful bag of basil up yesterday at the local farmer’s market and whipped up this fabulous easy pesto. I ate it over brown rice penne, and I honestly don’t know how it could have been improved upon. #nocheese #noneed
Pine Nut Basil Pesto
1-1/2-2c fresh basil, lightly packed
1/3c raw pine nuts, sprouted if possible
2T sweet mellow white miso
2T nutritional Yeast
1/2c extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ lemon, juiced
2t brown rice vinegar
Salt and pepper
In a blender, add the basil, oil, garlic, vinegar, lemon and miso. Blend until smooth and creamy. Adjust the seasoning adding more salt, pepper or lemon juice if needed. Pour out into an airtight container- keep in the fridge. Can easily be frozen.
These really are not difficult to make, they are definitely more time consuming than throwing pasta in a pot of boiling water, but they are so worth it. They are more of an “occasion” meal or made per a craving request. I was definitely craving them, so I made them for myself after yoga this morning. After already having made the Thai Basil Pesto with the Thai basil out of my garden, half the work was already done and in the fridge! I made a Peanut Sauce earlier today, which takes no more than 5 minutes so the rest of the prep is all about getting the components gathered and ready for you to roll (hehehe). What you put inside the rolls is really personal preference; my standard go to’s are:
grilled or smoked tofu, sliced into thin strips
red peppers, sliced into thin strips
rice vermicelli or glass noodles, cooked and drained
hoisin sauce or pesto and or peanut sauce- I use both!
fresh cilantro, fresh basil, fresh mint
crushed roasted peanuts
I use the water that I boil the noodles in to soften the rice wrappers. You can purchase the wrappers in almost every main stream market now a days, or in asian specialty stores, they are also easily found online at specialty markets.
On a clean surface or cutting board, lay your dampened rice wrapper, making sure there are no hard edges, if there are, try to moisten them with the heated water. Now you are ready to fill- my rhythm is as such:
lay down about one 2 teaspoons of pesto
then plenty of fresh herbs next to the sauce, above or below (they look pretty showing through the transparent skin when fully rolled)
then tofu stacked on the lettuce
then peppers stacked
then peanut sauce gets spooned over
then crushed peanuts
Roll from the bottom edge up towards the top to encase the tower of yum. Fold in the sides, the rice wrapper will help you by sticking in place. Once both sides are folded in, roll up to the top to close the package. They don’t keep well, the wrapper tends to stiffen overnight, thus lending to their name, fresh rolls. Dip into both the peanut sauce and the sweet chili lime sauce. FRICKEN YUM.
This is not your every day pesto…this pesto is slightly more badass- it could be I am bias seeing as my Thai basil plant took off and my Genovese basil did not….Still, this is a twist between an asian nut sauce, a hoisin sauce and a traditional pesto- are you feeling what I am saying? It’s raw, slightly sweet and dark in flavor, and the ingredients are straight forward- you could even use other kinds of basil and it would still be fantastic. I made it today in less than 15 minutes. I can use it as a sauce for cold noodles, hot noodles, a dipping sauce for grilled tofu, or a spread on a grilled tofu sandwich. I am thinking that I will most likely have this over noodles tonight or in fresh rolls tomorrow! YUM.
Thai Basil Pesto
2c fresh Thai basil, lightly packed
1/3c raw sprouted almonds
2T brown rice miso or another dark miso
2T extra virgin olive oil
1 cloves garlic*opt
½ lemon juiced
1 1/2T Raw agave, 5 deglet dates, or raw local honey
1t ume vinegar
½ fresh jalapeno or chili pepper
2t hot toasted sesame oil
1/4c unrefined toasted sesame oil
Salt and pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
Water if needed
Place all of the ingredients in a blender, and process.Blend until smooth and creamy; add the water for desired consistency- up to a 1/4c. Adjust the seasonings to taste (sweeter, saltier etc) to desired final result. Excellent for use in fresh rice rolls, on grilled or broiled tofu, on sandwiches, over soba or your favorite pasta. Delicious!