Vegan Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

by Susan on January 24, 2015

I love the flavor of fresh tomatoes with pasta, but they’re best when enjoyed straight from the garden in summertime. This pasta sauce is a great option for the winter months, when produce is pricier and not local. Added bonus? The recipe is vegan and super easy to make.

The best thing about pesto is that it’s virtually impossible to screw up. You just use a food processor to mix everything up and then season to taste. Most pestos include Parmesan cheese, but it’s very easy to omit. You can use any nuts here; pine nuts are the most traditional nut used in pesto, but they’re also a bit expensive. I opted for walnuts instead.

A little nutritional yeast adds a kind of “cheesy” element, but the sauce will still taste great without it. Make sure you buy sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, which allows you to cut down on the additional olive oil you’ll add to emulsify the rest of the ingredients.

I served this pesto over brown rice pasta for a quick vegan and gluten-free entree. While you can include some protein, this one is plenty filling and nutritious as written.

Vegan Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
adapted from Oh She Glows

2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup packed basil leaves (plus more, to garnish)
2 tbs. sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil (plus more, to garnish)
1 tbs. nutritional yeast (optional)
3 tbs. olive oil
up to 1/4 cup water
3 tbs. walnut pieces
salt, pepper & red pepper flakes, to taste

With machine running, drop garlic cloves down chute of a food processor. Add basil, tomatoes, nutritional yeast (if using) and olive oil until roughly chopped and blended.

Add water 1 tbs. at a time until desired texture is reached. Add in walnuts and process again until well-blended but a little chunky.

Season to taste and toss with freshly cooked pasta.

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Garlic Green Beans with Balsamic & Walnuts

by Susan on January 23, 2015

We used to call the boy the “green bean machine” because he loved them so much as a toddler. Both of my kids have always eagerly devoured them, and I didn’t have to do anything fancy to entice them. They like them raw, or just barely steamed with a little salt.

I wanted to try something to gussy up our beans the other night, though, and this recipe was definitely a hit. Make sure everyone in your family eats them so you’re not the only one with garlic breath!

This one would taste great with almonds too, and is a healthy and easy side dish that’s gluten, grain, dairy and sugar-free.

Garlic Green Beans with Balsamic & Walnuts
adapted fromĀ Heathy Seasonal Recipes

1 tbs. coconut or olive oil
4 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup raw chopped walnuts
1 tbs. balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper, to taste
1 lb. green beans, ends trimmed

Melt oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring continuously, until garlic just starts to turn golden. Remove from heat and place garlic in a large bowl.

Meanwhile, steam green beans until crisp tender. Toast walnuts.

Add green beans and walnuts to bowl with garlic. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Toss before serving.

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