Meatless Monday - Pesto with a Twist

  Basil When I hear Pesto, I automatically think of Basil as the leading star. Last week, Nancy Waldeck, Author and Chef at Taste and Savor,  surprised me with a Cilantro & Jalapeno Pesto that added some kick to...

 

Basil
Basil

When I hear Pesto, I automatically think of Basil as the leading star. Last week, Nancy Waldeck, Author and Chef at Taste and Savor,  surprised me with a Cilantro & Jalapeno Pesto that added some kick to the Southwestern favorites at my table.

Garlic
Garlic

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of  working with Nancy in the kitchen and prepping her Pesto to top her Chilled Provencal Tomato Soup.  I had to ask the chef for some advice as Parmesan Cheese was missing from the recipe.  It is always tough to ask a chef about their recipes, but within the ingredients and the directions, the cheese was missing.  A staple to most Pesto recipes, Nancy quickly noted that the almonds that she substituted and the slight add of cayenne pepper would help you not to miss the cheese in this classic topper. I was a doubter, but now I am a believer!

Almonds
Almonds

The summer is coming to an end. My basil plants, as well as my neighbor Theresa’s, have been generous all season. I made one last batch of this treat, sans the cheese. So good, and so healthy!

Easy Basil Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • ½ cup toasted almonds
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 garlic clove

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, finely mince the garlic then add in the toasted nuts, then add in the remaining ingredients.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Freezes well.

I really wanted to eat this Pesto on some of my fresh hand-made pasta, but I refrained as it was not a Celebration Day!   Instead, I added a few tablespoons to my saute of fresh spinach with an onion and a clove of garlic. Here is what my creation looked like. I love sautéed spinach.

Sauteed Spinach finished with Pesto
Sauteed Spinach finished with Pesto

What is the dish you will miss most now that summer is ending?