Hey Pesto! …. (Vegan Walnut Pesto Recipe)

Hey vegan walnut pesto

*A note on measurements:

The ‘cup’ measurements I use are the standard American cup sizes. You can buy ‘cup’ measurers from most big supermarkets. These are very useful (as it doesn’t require getting the scales out and measuring all the ingredients by weight) and they generally range from 1/3 cup to a whole cup measurement.

If you’re unable to get hold of these, then you can use a mug. A 1 cup measurement is about equal to ¾ of a standard mug you might have in your kitchen.

Ingredients:

½ cup walnuts

30-50g fresh basil (medium sized bunch)

2-4 garlic cloves

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp ground black pepper

approximately ½ cup good quality olive oil

2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (optional, but much nicer with!)

Why?:

Walnuts are the brain food. The fact that they look a lot like a brain indicates that they contain vital nutrients the brain needs in order to function at its optimum level. The omega 3 fatty acids walnuts contain provide the body with a powerful anti-inflammatory, decrease of cardiovascular risk (when eating one ounce per day) and powerful and unique antioxidants, helping rid the body of toxins, especially toxins that damage the liver.

Basil is naturally calming for the nervous system, and contains a large amount of essential oils and flavonoids. Basil can be useful for treating arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, and is also well known for treating blemishes; (boil a cup of basil in water and leave to cool. Dip some cotton wool into the water and apply to skin – splash face with water after 10 minutes and repeat twice a day to reduce redness.)

Garlic is brilliant for strengthening the immune system, and can greatly reduce the length of time taken to recover from a cold. (One study in which two groups of people had colds showed that thre group who took a garlic placebo recovered in 5 days, whereas those taking real garlic recovered in just a day-and-a-half!)

Salt and pepper have been dinner table staples for years, but good quality salt has the potential to provide the body with a natural antihistamine, anti-stress benefits, and can aid in getting better quality sleep. (*Fact: We actually have roughly the same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean….) Black pepper is fantastic for boosting appetite, digestion, and intestinal health. (Add black pepper to any recipes in which you use turmeric, as it is needed in order to access the nutritional benefits of turmeric).

More and more benefits are being discovered about olive oil, but heating it – like many of us may do – isn’t helping us to obtain any of those benefits…. Heating olive oil spoils the valuable nutrients, turning the oil rancid and drastically decreasing the health benefits of it. Use olive oil in a raw recipe like this, and it’ll provide you with the ability to lower blood pressure, ‘slow down’ ageing effects of the heart, and has ben shown to positively effect the density of bones – aiding in prevention and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis.

Nutritional yeast is popular amongst those following a vegan lifestyle, as it contains high levels of B-vitamins, with most varieties including lots of vitamin b12 too – otherwise difficult to find in vegan food options. Nutritional yeast has a slightly cheesy, nutty flavour and helps the body convert food into energy, reduces low mood levels, insomnia, stress, anxiety, fatigue, and PMS symptoms. Get some in your cupboard, quick!

How To:

Place half the olive oil and the rest of the ingredients into a food processor or nutri-bullet type appliance.

Start to blend, scraping down the sides as necessary.

Gradually start drizzling in the rest of the oil, using as much as you need to create a loose, mushy consistency.

When you reach the desired consistency, spoon the mixture into a jar and store in the fridge – keep for 1-2 weeks at its best.

Serving suggestions:

Healthier spaghetti….

Using a spiraliser (or alternatively use a julienne peeler or sharp knife) cut strips of courgette into spaghetti-like shapes, and mix with a big spoon of pesto for a completely plant-based vegan meal. Add protein like beans or tofu for a complete and nutritional plate.

Add a scoop to soup….

Try THIS soup recipe topped with vegan pesto to add flavour and nutrition

Spread….

On a pannini, home made bread, crackers or cucumber slices. Pesto is very high in flavour and is satisfying, so it’s perfect for serving with snacks at a get-together or as a starter.

 One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.

– Virginia Woolf

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