Monday, March 26, 2012

Greens & Herb Nut-Free Pesto (vegan)

Well, we all knew it would happen. The early spring tempts are back to normal here. No more air conditioning in March. And, sadly there is going to be a freeze tonight in most of the general area. So we'll see how the fruit tree blossoms hold up. Michigan makes 100's of millions of dollars growing fruit and it would be so sad to see so much of the harvest lost. I don't know that much about growing fruit trees, but I know farming in general demands a lot of faith and patience. I'm only a second year gardener so I have lots to learn, but I do know so much of the process just asks for you to be on your knees hoping for the best. I am getting so excited for plating our urban garden this year. We are doubling our space and hoping to plant so much more. Oooooo the impending excitement of the garden is half the fun...
Also, I was surprised to see some of my herbs from last year pop up in the last few weeks. I'm not sure if they just never died in the light not-so-cold winter, or if they are perennials [see...gardening is a never-ending learning experience!]. Well, I know my sage and oregano are perennials, but my parsley and kale popped up again too. So this pesto is made from the fresh herbs in my own yard as a hearty-happy welcome to spring and fresh food from the ground. Just look how green that pesto is! So wonderful and fabulous in every way. And, I made this pesto nut-free and dairy-free too for the allergen-free soul like me. This recipe is a little soupy-er than the average pesto, but the added seeds and oats really help cream up the mixture and make it worth drizzling over fresh, warm gluten-free pasta. If you add the nutritional yeast then you will not miss the parmasean too much as well. I think this sauce is the best with warmed freshly cooked pasta, but you could also try it as a dip for GF bread or crackers, salad dressing or whatever else you would like to make super green!
Greens and Herb Nut-Free Pesto Sauce Recipe
2 cups of mixed fresh greens: Kale, Spinach, Chard
(or add some Dandelion or Nettles for extra goodness!)
1 cup of mixed fresh herbs: Parsley, Oregano, Sage, Cilantro, Basil
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup of pure water
juice from 1 fresh lemon
2-3 grated garlic cloves (or 2 ts. dried garlic powder)
3 TB of gluten-free rolled oats
3 TB of raw sunflower seeds
1 TB of maple syrup (optional for sweetness)
1 TB of nutritional yeast (optional as a cheese sub)
1 ts. of sea salt
1/2 ts. of cracked black pepper

Put all of the above ingredients in a high powered blender or food processor. If you are worried your blender won't blend the oats, seeds and garlic super fine, then place those as the bottom of the blender and pour the oil and water over them with the greens and herbs washed and chopped on top. Blend well together until you get a thick and creamy pesto sauce mixture. 

This sauce is meant to stay raw and drizzle over hot gluten-free pasta (tinkyada brown rice is my favorite). But this sauce can be used however you may use a traditional pesto sauce. 

If you do not love the taste of extra virgin olive oil you can sub some or all of the oil for grapeseed oil. If you can tolerate and like nuts then don't add the sunflower seeds and oats and just add a 1/3 cup of pine nuts or walnuts to do the job.

Use generously over pasta and keep the remains in a glass, air-tight container in the fridge to use again. You should get about 2 cups of pesto sauce from this recipe. 
Bitter greens and fresh herbs are perfect this time of year to help detox and purify your blood. If you are over-concerned about the oils of the pesto than you can remember that pure good-fats are also important to the process of detoxing and building up a healthy body too. Here is a great post on Whole Life Nutrition's blog about spring greens and all that they do to help clean up your liver and gallbladder. Who wouldn't benefit from more greens in their life?!
Hope you are enjoying all the green this spring and finding new ways to stimulate and clean out your digestion. It is so worth it to have a body that is detoxing naturally and running smoothly.

Hope you find lots of green and light in your life today!

Much love to you!

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