Sunday, August 29, 2010

Walnut Pesto Sauce with Pasta

Have you noticed that pine nuts have sky-rocketed in price over the last year? Well, they have where I live. They went from an average 18 dollars a pound to about 35 dollars a pound. So, sadly, I have not been making pesto sauce as much because I just can't justify the price for the pine nuts. Although, pine nuts are one of my favorite toppings to many pasta dishes, you just have to get creative without them once in a while. So, I made some pesto sauce with walnuts, and since we are going with a little less traditional here I also added some kale and spinach to green it up.

I truly love fresh herbs. They are a must-have-ingredient when you are on the dairy-free gluten-free diet. They just add so much fresh flavor and beauty to each dish that you won't even be missing Parmesan cheese. Not only are they beautiful and tasty, they are full of vitamins, minerals and "green-goodness". My favorites that I plant every year are basil, thyme, sage, rosemary, parsley, and mint. Those are my staple herbs at least. You will be surprised on how if you have them on hand and fresh in a pot you will use them more. I crave them in the winter and occasionally buy some in their little packages for an outrageous price. But in the summer, don't even think about buying them in those packages. Just get a few dollar herb plant in a pot and plant it in your backyard or in a larger sized pot. And within no time it will growing like crazy and you will have fresh herbs coming out your ears. You have to make sure that you water them, and give them full sunlight along with picking the tops pretty faithfully to ensure them a plentifully season. My herbs this year went through a little of a drought with all the heat (and me forgetting to water for a few days), but thankfully they are back to their fruitful self that last few weeks. I can use and keep them outdoors until the frost, and after that either let them dry out or clean up shop and wait for spring. It's a fun little hobby I think.... and like I said before, they are beautiful and tasty in everything.

Anyways, I say all this because I just made another batch of pesto sauce with some of my freshest basil along with...walnuts instead of pine nuts. It turns out just as wonderful and much easier on the budget that's for sure. Here is my favorite recipe to use...

Walnut Pesto Sauce Recipe
1 heaping cup of fresh basil leaves
1 heaping cup of spinach leaves
1 heaping cup of chopped kale leaves
3 chopped cloves of garlic
1 TB of lemon juice
1 ts or more of ground black pepper
1 ts. or more of sea salt
1 TB of agave nectar
2/3 cup or so of raw walnut pieces
1/4-1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil

Add all of the above ingredients to a blender, food processor, or magic bullet and start blending on full speed. If you need to add a touch more of oil, water or lemon juice to get it moving better or blending then by all means. Just make sure you add only like a spoonful of liquid at a time to make sure you don't over-do it. Blend for a minute or so until smooth and add to some freshly boiled favorite gluten-free pasta. Mine of course that I always mention is, Tinkyada Brown Rice pasta, but really any will do. This recipe is similar to my spring pesto pasta sauce that I have a recipe for, except I am using the walnuts as a substitute.
You could add other fresh veggies (green beans, broccoli, mushrooms or carrots) to the pasta, or some more topped walnuts or pine nuts and make it a pasta salad for a party. This sauce is great for so many things... topping a flat bread or pizza, a dressing, a dip, a sauce... really it is what you decide to make of it. It is always best tossed on some warm pasta and enjoyed pronto. If you want to add cheese, then go for it, but really you won't be missing it too terribly if you must be dairy-free.

I hope you try this out before the end of summer and enjoy! Much love to you today!



1 comment:

  1. I did notice the pine nut prices! Ouch! Your pesto looks lovely. Yum!