Summer: Full of the Busy (and Pesto!)

So, as I was saying in my post last week…Wait, what?  I haven’t posted in, oh, a month or so?  Oops!  I got busy, as I tend to do in July.  Trips, weddings, mountains, concerts–it all adds up to not much cooking and not much blogging.  Eating, yes; writing about it, no.

Anyway, so sorry!  I’m bringing it back with a doozy, and one of my new favorite recipes: edamame pesto.  Inspiration to try this lower-fat, higher-density version of my old fave struck when I was gobbling a post-climb veggie burger at a normally uninspiring restaurant/brewery in Hood River, OR.  I had ordered the vegan burger with fries (oh shut it; I’d just climbed a mountain), and in my sleep-deprived stupor opened the burger to find a chunky green spread on the inside–edamame pesto, I discovered.

I swear it was mostly the quality of the pesto and less my desperate, gnawing, calorie-deprivedness that made me decide I HAD to figure out how to make this stuff at home and immediately put it on everything.  So, you know, I did.  I cobbled together some inspiration from others’ traditional and vegan pesto recipes and used what I had in the house.  What follows is the pesto recipe, as well as a couple of ideas for how to serve it.

Edamame Pesto

12-oz package frozen shelled edamame (I used Trader Joe’s)

3/4 c (or more) fresh basil leaves

1-2 T lemon juice

2 cloves minced garlic

1 t olive oil

1-1.5 t salt

1 T nutritional yeast

1/4-1/2 c veggie broth

1. Cook the edamame according to package directions, drain, and set aside to cool.

2. Blend basil, garlic, lemon juice, oil, and salt until fairly smooth.  You may use a food processor or (if you have an awesome new blender like mine) a blender will work just fine.

3. Add the edamame and nutritional yeast to the blender (but don’t blend yet).  It’s ok if the beans are not completely cool; you’ll chill the pesto or use it right away in a dish, so whatevs. Add a splash of the veggie broth and begin blending.  Add the veggie broth gradually until your pesto is the consistency you like.  Mine was a bit like hummus, and it softens when warmed.

Serving ideas

Crostini:  Slice a narrow sourdough baguette into thin (1/4″) slices.  Arrange in an even layer on a baking tray.  Spray or brush with olive oil.  Broil until golden, then flip and brown the other side.  Keep an eye on these guys while broiling!  Spread pesto on each piece and serve as an appetizer.  Top with tomato slices for some color and brightness.

“Quesa”dilla:  Spread pesto all over one side of a flour tortilla.  Spread one half with mashed black beans and a bit of salsa.  Fold.  Brown in a pan on both sides, heating through.  I ate mine with guacamole.

Pasta salad: Cook some short pasta (penne, farfalle, etc.), drain, and rinse with cool water.  Add gently cooked–but still firm–broccoli and any other veggie that sounds good.  Add sun-dried tomatoes if you want your pasta to be awesome.  Warm the pesto and toss together with the pasta and veggies.  Some extra olive oil will make everything toss together more easily.  This is good hot or cold!

See?  Even vegans don’t have to live without pesto.

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