Get Baked: Garlicky Vegan Pesto

Pesto is probably one of the greatest foods on this planet, after anything whatsoever involving blueberries and just on par with hummus.

Plus, making it by hand is either very easy (if you have a food processor) or somewhat easy (if you have a mortar and pestle) and always impressive, like making your own almond milk or roasting red peppers.

vegan-pesto

This pesto is parmesan-free, so it gets most of its flavor from the basil and garlic. Adding parsley also makes things just a little more interesting. If you wanted to add nutritional yeast you could, but it’s not necessary.

As with all few-ingredient recipes, the fresher your ingredients the better. I used basil, parsley and garlic fresh from the garden (though, not my garden) with pecans a relative recently brought back from Louisiana.

Most pesto recipes call for pine nuts or walnuts, with pecans a distant unlisted third option. I find pecans less bitter and more delicious than walnuts (and far less expensive than pine nuts). Many pesto recipes also call for toasting your nuts of choice before adding them, but with pecans I didn’t have to, and simplicity always wins. (If you do want to toast the pecans, or you’re using walnuts, dump them into a dry frying pan over medium-high heat and stir every so often until they smell toasty and start to darken.)

You can use all sorts of herbs: cilantro instead of (or along with) parsley, a few fresh mint leaves for a brighter flavor, thyme instead of basil or even a combo of fresh basil, oregano, chives and baby arugula. This recipe sticks to the absolute basics, though, and is absolutely delicious.pesto-ingredients

Vegan Pesto

Ingredients

3 cups basil
1 cup parsley
3 to 4 big garlic cloves
1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 to 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly-ground pepper (important)

pesto-in-processDirections

1. Add all ingredients to a food processor.

2. Blend. Make flavor adjustments by adding more of any of the ingredients, if you need or want to.

3. Serve. Pesto is, of course, excellent on pasta. You can also spread it on tofu or fish, use it in salad, put in on wraps, add it to hummus and more.pesto-pasta-done

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Carolyn is the NSFW Editor for Autostraddle.com. She is also a freelance copy editor and writer, and her work has appeared in Bitch, Xtra!, Jezebel, the Billfold, and other places. Find her on twitter.

Carolyn has written 282 articles for us.

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    You can make pesto without a fancy food processor also. I make it in this all the time, (which cost $13 bucks, and if you get it, buy it through the AS affiliate link, please, so Autostraddle gets money!), but honestly it’s supposed to be with a mortar and pestle. I just don’t have one at the minute, but it’s pretty quick. Mortar and pestle is seriously the way to go, if you need to be convinced, have you ever had a great mojito at a bar and then tried to make it at home? You can’t just throw mint leaves in your drink and squeeze in lime juice, you need to muddle the mint and lime together to release the oils. The same is true of basil; it takes a little longer, but it’s so worth it!

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