Creamy Avocado Pesto Pasta
When life gives you lemons, you could make lemonade. Or you could get some serious meal-spiraton from us and make this lemony Avocado Pesto Pasta, instead! This creamy dish is packed with flavor but comes together super easily - you can even make the pesto ahead for an easy instant meal builder. It's the perfect dish for welcoming in warm, spring weather and the recipe is easily doubled for family-sized meals or lunch-leftovers. Top it with a sprinkle of hemp seeds for a bit of texture, and of course serve with fresh lemon slices- they add a ton of fresh flavor when squeezed over the top!
Before we get cooking, just wanted to let all my Orange County pals know that my vegan, organic baked goods are now being sold at Green Bliss Cafe in downtown Fullerton! This week they've got Oatmeal Cream Pies and Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies from our NEW Homestyle Vegan Cookbook (available for pre-order!!), as well as matcha-glazed and maple-glazed donuts! And if you need a custom baked goods order, let us know! We're happy to help bake and deliver whatever goodies you may need. Any questions? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Now let's get cookin'!
1 1/2 cups fresh basil
1/4 cup hemp seeds (shell-free)
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium avocado, halved and seed removed
16 ounces spaghetti noodles (or any pasta you prefer!)
lemon slices, for squeezing + garnish
hemp seeds, for garnish
In a food processor or high speed blender combine the basil, hemp seeds, lemon juice, garlic, pepper and salt. Drizzle in the olive oil and scoop the avocado into the mixture and process until creamy. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the noodles until al dente, then drain.
Pour the avocado pesto sauce into the pasta and toss to coat evenly. Garnish with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of hemp seeds. Serve + enjoy!
Leftovers last in the fridge up to about a week.
Here in Southern California, the growing season starts earlier than most places. Thanks to our high temps and sunny days, our garden started growing back in March and hasn't stopped since. In other words, our parsley plant is bigger than most peoples large dog. We have SO MUCH parsely- we're overrun! And there's only so much garnishing you can do with parsley before you're sick of it. A better way to use up mass amounts of fresh, fragrant parsley? This simple Parsley Pesto recipe! It whips up quickly and taste great spread on everything! I'm loving pairing it with sweet cherry tomatoes on crackers and crusty bread and mixing it into pasta dishes like this Caprese Pasta Salad. I was hesitant when I started messing around with this stuff- what if I didn't like it as much as my traditional Hemp Seed Basil Pesto? What if it just didn't taste right? Well, SURPRISE! It tastes AMAZING! Adding the green onions and extra garlic give it a ton of flavor and take away from the bitterness of having too much parsley, and the nuts keep it smooth and mellow. It's green gold! And it saves well in the fridge for up to a week, so you can enjoy fresh, flavorful pesto all week long. Lets eat!
3 packed cups fresh parsley, stems removed
1 cup almonds or cashews
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
3 tablespoons lemon juice
4 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
In a high speed blender (we used our Vitamix) or a food processor, combine all ingredients. Blend until smooth, or until your desired texture- you can leave it chunkier if you like! [If you don't have a great blender to work with, try soaking your nuts in warm water for at least an hour before blending them, it'll help break them down much more easily.] Spread it on everything from bread and crackers to pizza dough and rice cakes. Saves well in an airtight container for about a week, or until pesto begins to brown. Enjoy!
Lean Green Portobello, Pesto & Artichoke Panini
I used to work as the Head Chef at cute vegetarian cafe in Orange County, and it's where I really fell in love with sandwiches. Experimenting everyday was fun and made me really appreciate how much variety can exist between two slices of bread. Of course, the key here is really great bread. Now if you're completely off gluten, I apologize- because I haven't found a GF bread yet that compares to a freshly baked loaf of sourdough. There's just nothing like it! And while I think this combo would taste great on really any bread, I recommend splurging on a great loaf if you can enjoy it. The portable acts as the meaty base, with a spread of homemade hemp seed basil pesto and topped with artichoke hearts, onions, and creamy avocado. It's got a ton of flavor and makes a great lunch, plus takes just a few to whip up. Let's eat!
2 teaspoons coconut oil
2 slices of sourdough (or your favorite) bread
1 medium portobello mushroom
3-4 tablespoons of hemp seed basil pesto
2-3 artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
thinly sliced onion (I like a lot. Put as much as you like!)
1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
Gently clean the mushroom cap, remove stem, and thinly slice the cap. Lightly sauté in 1 teaspoon of coconut oil in a medium frying pan for 3-4 minutes, until slightly softened. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon of coconut oil on a large griddle over medium heat or preheat your panini press and spray with non-stick spay. Spread each slice of bread with pesto on one side & assemble portobellos, artichoke hearts and sliced onion on top. Place sandwich on the griddle and cook until golden, then flip. When finished, remove from heat and add the avocado slices. Slice, and enjoy!
Hemp Seed Basil Pesto
Before we get started today, I wanted to announce the WINNER of our Rawsome Vegan Baking cookbook giveaway! And the lucky winner of their very own copy is...Veggie Loops! (Assuming thats your real name...hehe.) I've emailed you and look forward to sending your your copy of Emily's raw-mazing book! Thanks to everyone that entered, and to Emily for letting us be a part of her book tour. We love ya, Em!
Having a jar of pesto in the fridge is pretty much the same as having a pile of expensive jewelry in the closet- its mealtime gold. Throw it on a pizza, in pasta, or as a sandwich spread and you're halfway to solving the weeknight dinner conundrum! Plus, it whips up in a flash and lasts a few weeks in the fridge, so you can make several meals out just one batch. Alex loves this recipe and uses it every time he makes pasta, adding some chopped tomatoes and vegan mozzarella to make his own capresé salad. I'm a sucker for just putting it on bread with veggies and having a panini for lunch, but either way- its a crowd pleaser.
Plus remember that annoying, "Where do you get your protein from?" question we discussed last time? Well, hemp seeds are a complete protein, meaning they contain all of the essential amino acids and are a great source of protein, magnesium, iron & fiber for vegans . They're one of the greatest superfoods you can find! And they're easy to sneak into healthy recipes. The hemp seeds add a slightly nutty flavor that contrasts the slight bitterness of the basil in the recipe, and makes for a super healthy sandwich slather.
This recipe is also super easy to manipulate to your own liking; hate hemp seeds? Try replacing them with flax seeds or your soaked nut of choice. Out of lemon juice? Try lime juice or apple cider vinegar. Only have black truffle sea salt on hand? Throw it in! The experimentation is all up to you. That being said, the original is pretty goddamned good. So, lets eat!
3 cups fresh basil
1/2 cup hemp seeds (shell-free)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 garlic cloves
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive or grapeseed oil
Rinse basil and separate leaves from stems. Toss the stems in the compost and the leaves in a food processor or high speed blender. Add the hemp seeds, lemon juice, garlic, salt & pepper. Blend until smooth. Add oil and blend again until evenly incorporated. Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Makes about 2 cups. Enjoy!
My Mommy is in town this week! Alex and I have been having way too much fun showing her all the awesomeness that is Southern California. Last night we spent two hours shopping Mother's Market and came home with way too many delicious groceries.
We were all craving pizza so we decided to veganize one of our old favorites, pesto pizza! The pesto pizzas we used to get had chicken (eww!) and real mozzarella cheese (blech!). To make this pizza, we used a vegan pesto, 'teese' brand mozzarella cheese, and fresh veggies on top of a home-made crust.
The pizza came out absolutely wonderfully. The crust was crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and super garlic-y!
1 sachet active dry yeast
1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a medium mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
In a separate bowl combine flour and salt.Once yeast and sugar mixture looks creamy, beat until smooth. Let rest for 5 minutes then add dry ingredients and oil to yeast mixture.
Using a wooden spoon or whisk, stir all the ingredients together until just combined, about 2 minutes.
Then using either a bread hook attachment or your hands, knead and stretch dough until dough is elastic-y but softened, about 5-8 minutes.
Using your hands, stretch dough into the shape of the pan. Be careful doing this, pulling gently at the sides until the dough stretches out. Don't rush it, you don't want any massive holes for your toppings to fall through!
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured pizza stone or baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes, until crust edges JUST start to harden and golden.
Once the crust is made, top with (in this order):
Teese mozzarella 'cheese' (shredded with a cheese grater)
garlic (diced or pressed)
Spread toppings and bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Let pizza cool for 5 minutes, then cut into 8 slices and enjoy!
P.S. Sometimes we make it without cheese, cause we love the taste of just fresh veggies. Here's a photo:
Caprese Pasta Salad
This is a very simple and delicious recipe, one of my favorites!
about 1 cup hemp seed basil pesto
organic, whole wheat rotini pasta (enough for two!)
1-2 tomatoes, chopped or 1 cup cherry tomatoes
'teese' mozzarella cheese for sprinkling
Once your pasta is fully cooked, add enough pesto to coat all of the pasta. If you would like to serve this dish cold, allow the pasta and sauce to cool before adding the tomato and vegan cheese. However, if you want this to be more of an ooey-gooey-cheesy goodness kind of dish, feel free to add the cheese and tomatoes while it is all still warm and mix it all together!
If you can find vegan mozzarella that is not shredded, feel free to use it! The big hunks of cheese add a nice contrast to the bite-sized chunks of tomato and pasta. Be creative and have fun with it. The best dishes come from a simple recipe that you make your own!