This summer, as I’ve been working to change my relationship with sugar, I’ve also been trying to eat more greens. I’m preparing lots of green smoothies; growing basil and mint indoors; and learning to make sauces from spinach, kale, and chard.
Many of these sauces are adaptations of pesto, thinned with water to make more of a dressing or dip than the typically thick and oily spread. I call this “adaptable pesto sauce,” because there are many ways to prepare it and because I’ve come to this recipe through studying variations on vegan pesto.
The idea is to combine the following ingredients (all of which can be adapted to what’s on hand) in a Vitamix or another high-powered blender.
- Greens—approx. 5 cups of any combination of basil, spinach, kale, swiss chard, or the tops of carrots or beets
- Walnuts— 1/2 cup
- Water—1/3 cup
- Olive oil—1/3 cup
- Lemon—juice of 1 small lemon (~2 to 3 tablespoons)
- Garlic—6 bulbs (more or less, depending on how much you like garlic :-))
- Salt—1+ teaspoon (to taste)
- Pepper—1/3 to 1/2 teaspoon (to taste)
I appreciate that this recipe is simple, taking no more than 10 minutes to gather and combine ingredients. I appreciate that it helps with achieving my goal of eating veggies as at least half of every meal. I appreciate, too, that I can eat a single batch for several days.
To illustrate, with the serving shown here, I ended up with three distinct meals:
(1) Adaptable pesto sauce became the focus on this dinner with roasted mushrooms, carrots, potatoes, crackers, and sliced peaches all as options for dipping.
(2) The next day I served the sauce with carrot and celery sticks and two veggie burgers topped with slices of avocado.
(3) What remained I used in a pasta casserole, drizzling the sauce over a layer of kale and textured vegetable protein (TVP), which topped a layer of gluten-free rotini (spiral pasta). After repeating these layers, I topped the casserole with Follow Your Heart vegan cheeze and baked for approximately an hour at 400 degrees.
These three meals are only a few I’ve created with this adaptable pesto sauce, as it’s becoming a familiar friend.
And as a friend, vegan pesto reminds me of the connections between self-care and community care, between fueling the self and fueling the long haul toward justice. It’s not by accident that this recipe and all on this blog are vegan. What we eat impacts not only ourselves but also other humans, non-human animals, and the earth.
Loving ourselves, even a little bit better, matters.
Adaptable pesto sauce isn’t a cure-all, but may it bring about more healing. May it help with building healthy relationships with food and with linking creativity and commitment.
This post is written by Beth Godbee for Heart-Head-Hands.com. For more posts like this one, you might try “Roasted Veggies with Tahini Sauce: Linking Creativity and Self-Care,” “Three Chocolate Smoothies for Fueling the Road Ahead,” and other vegan + gluten-free recipes. Please also consider following the blog via email. Thanks!
This sounds so delicious. I will definitely be giving it a go. I love that it involves so many great elements and fresh produce.
Lo at Large
Wowieee! This sounds soooo wonderfully scrumptious! I will definitely try this!
I truly think everyone needs to know how to make a good pesto, and this one sounds delicious!
This sounds and look delicious and healthy. We’ve bee making a moringa and kale pesto here in Cambodia that is super healthy!
I love a good pesto, thanks for this wonderful guide! As well as switching up the greens, I sometimes like to change the walnuts to pecans, sunflower seeds, cashews (etc).
I’ve surprisingly never made pesto before, but I’ll have to give this one a go! Looks great!
Thanks! I hope you enjoy. 🧡