I love pesto. I love everything about it. The strong smell of herbs, the creamy texture, the sharp cheesiness, and the fatty oils. I used to get that Bertolli pesto in the small hummus like container and just indulge. However, that container has a whole lot of Parmesan cheese and olive oil in it. Don’t get me wrong I love olive oil and Parmesan is the world’s top cheese supposedly but I am vegan and I need to start eating less oil and more whole foods so this weekend I tried to make a new pesto recipe and decided to add some protein and make it a nice creamy version of my favorite since I already have a classic pesto recipe on here. So please make some, add a few of my optionals, and indulge in a delicious creamy pesto pasta on this cold, snowy Meatless Monday!
Oil Free Creamy Pesto Sauce
- 1 container lite silken tofu
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 cup frozen basil
- 1 tbsp pinenuts (pignolias)
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp granulated garlic
Optional: (1) Add raw sliced almonds to the processor for a little texture. (2) Top with bruschetta tomatoes and a balsamic drizzle for a fresh twist. (3) Eat with American Flatbread Company’s new Farmer’s Tomato Pie instead of garlic bread or crusty bread.
Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until well combined and then when you drain your pasta place the sauce in the pot over medium or medium low heat stirring often until bubbling. Add pasta and toss. Serve hot with bread or Tomato Pie!
Food is Love.
The Hippie Gypsy
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I decided to eat avocados but I know it wasn’t when I lived in Southern California where they grow and I would’ve had the best opportunity at this particular produce. I am funny sometimes in that way. I always find a way to randomly miss a great opportunity like when I got parasite in Guatemala the day before I was supposed to zipline through a rainforest a life long bucket list item. Instead I was in the parking lot getting sick next to a van. But I digress. Back to the avocado, I was always turned off by the green black pimply shell and the bring mushy green insides of this so-called fruit. I knew it was fairly fatty but everyone seemed to love it as some sort of super food. So I categorized it with all those other superfoods like Wheatgrass and Seaweed and Blue Green Algae all of which (at that point) I was not buying into. They seemed alien and gross and I preferred Cheetos and Frozen Pizza. I remember trying guacamole once because my friend CiCi demanded it was amazing at a local mexican food chain one night. I thought it was soupy bland and boring. Then sometime in the past year I started putting avocado on my sandwiches to bulk them up a little after having warmed up to the smoothness of them against spicy roasted peppers at a peruvian sandwich shop near Downtown Crossing in Boston before I went vegan. I decided it was time to try guacamole but on my own terms. I would have to make it myself. I scoured the internet and saw about a thousand different recipes and gave up on them all. What flavors would I want? What would make it fresh? My mom says cilantro tastes like soap and avocados like dirt so how can I offset those flavors that she thinks she tastes so she won’t gag at the next dinner party? So I spent the day in the grocery store and then in the kitchen mixing the flavors together until I got what I wanted. I didn’t want mushy, I needed some acidity, I needed salt. So here is what I produced. It is both mom and husband approved and everyone that has tried it said the same thing “I usually don’t like guacamole from the store but I love this it’s so fresh tasting!” Mission accomplished.
1-2 capfuls of lemon juice
1 container of Whole Foods PreMade Salsa Fresca (or you can make it: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/learn-cook-fresh-salsa)
Fresh Ground Pepper
Time to Prepare!
- I make sure that both of my avocados are a little soft to the touch they don’t have to be super squishy but a finger imprint and a dark skin almost black are good signs.
- I then slice them in half by placing them upright like a pear and going straight down until I hit the seed and then circling around the seed keeping that straight line of cutting it in half.
- I pull the two halves apart and I either scoop out the seed with my avocado tool or if it is in the dishwasher I pull it out with my fingers or I stick a knife in it and pull until it loosens up and falls out.
- I then scrape out the contents with my avocado tool or make a slice down the center of the fruit flesh without piercing the skin and then across making little blocks and turn it inside out to pop out the blocks of avocado like ice cubes in a tray.
- I take all the cubes and mash them lightly with my avocado tool or a fork but I make sure it stays chunky. Over mashing will cause it to get soupy when you add the lemon juice and salsa.
- Then add kosher salt and pepper to taste. I use at least 1-2 teaspoons of salt and a few grinds from a small pepper grinder.
- Add the capful or two of lemon juice (I use Real Lemon) and then toss with a fork.
- Last add 2-3 heaping spoonfuls of the salsa fresca to the mixture and lightly mix. This adds the exact freshness that the guacamole needs to not be bland. I love that Whole Foods prepares it and has it on ice in the prepared foods section. I would hate to have to cut up all those tomatoes and onions.
- Serve with corn chips or on top of my chili recipe.
Weight Watchers Points: 1/4 of bowl is 4 points. 1/8 is 2 points. So eat it up with some fresh chopped veggies or in a veggie soup for a low point dinner or lunch!
The Hippie Gypsy