Anyhow, that version of pesto was a salad dressing version. Creamy, some sort of cousin to what I eat today, but in any event, I was in love. I had mom hunt me down some pesto at the supermarket. Cardini’s was just about all you could get back then, but that worked for me. I proceeded to eat it on everything. Salads, pasta, chicken fingers, and eventually fake chicken fingers. At some point I found a recipe and attempted to make my own. For my first attempt I used dried basil, not knowing there was a difference (I was probably twelve). No good.
I finally figured out that the dried basil was what was causing my problems. I followed a few recipes for conventional pesto and continued to be unsatisfied. I was looking for something with a little more tang. That’s where the lemon juice came in. This vegan version of the classic also includes nutritional yeast in place of parmesan, and pistachios in place of pine nuts, just because I prefer the texture. Added bonus: pistachios are cheaper.
I hope you make this and are immediately inspired to put it on everything, like I was. Just in case you’re not, I’ll help you figure something out later this week.
- ¼ cup shelled pistachios
- 1½ cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 3 cloves garlic
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
- juice of one lemon (about 3 tbsp.)
- Place pistachio, basil and garlic in food processor.
- Pulse until coarsely chopped. Add olive oil, nutritional yeast and lemon juice.
- Process until smooth.