“Very Vege” Pesto Recipe

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Do you crave the vibrant flavors of pesto but want to boost your veggie intake? Look no further than the “Very Vege” Pesto recipe! This recipe throws away the traditional limitations and celebrates the power of vegetables.

This twist on classic pesto replaces nuts and cheese with a symphony of fresh or roasted vegetables, creating a vibrant and flavorful condiment. It’s a fantastic way to reduce food waste, add a healthy twist to your favorite dishes, and explore the endless possibilities of the vegetable kingdom. Get ready to unleash your inner veggie champion and whip up a batch of “Very Vege” Pesto that will burst with flavor and color!

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 15 minutes

“Very Vege” Pesto Recipe

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“Very Vege” Pesto Recipe Ingredients:

Embrace the bounty of your vegetables with this “Very Vege” pesto! This recipe is all about showcasing fresh flavors and utilizing a variety of vegetables to create a vibrant and nutritious condiment. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Vegetable Base (choose 2-3 from the options below):
    • Kale Leaves (2 cups, no stems) – Adds a slightly bitter and earthy flavor.
    • Arugula (2 cups) – Peppery and bright, perfect for a lighter pesto.
    • Spinach (2 cups) – Mild flavor and a good source of iron.
    • Roasted Broccoli Florets (1 cup, chopped) – Nutty and slightly sweet flavor from roasting.
    • Roasted Red Peppers (1 cup, chopped) – Adds sweetness and a vibrant red color.
    • Grilled Asparagus (1 cup, chopped) – Earthy and slightly smoky flavor.
  • Nuts or Seeds (1/2 cup):
    • Pine Nuts – Classic choice for pesto, adds a rich and buttery flavor.
    • Walnuts – Nutty and slightly earthy, pairs well with stronger vegetables like kale.
    • Cashews – Milder nut flavor with a creamy texture.
    • Sunflower Seeds – Budget-friendly option with a slightly nutty flavor.
  • Garlic (1-2 cloves): For a pungent and savory note. Adjust the amount according to your preference.
  • Olive Oil (1/2 cup): Base of the pesto, adds richness and helps create a smooth consistency.
  • Lemon Juice (1 tablespoon): Brightens the flavor profile and cuts through the richness.
  • Nutritional Yeast (1/4 cup, optional): Adds a cheesy and umami depth, perfect for a vegan option. You can substitute with grated parmesan cheese for a non-vegan version.
  • Salt and Black Pepper (to taste): Seasoning is key!
  • Fresh Herbs (optional, for garnish): Chopped fresh basil, parsley, or chives add a vibrant touch.

“Very Vege” Pesto Instructions:

This recipe is all about fresh flavors and comes together in a few simple steps:

  1. Wash and Prepare the Vegetables: Wash your chosen vegetables and prepare them according to their needs. Kale and spinach can be left raw. Broccoli florets, red peppers, and asparagus should be roasted or grilled beforehand for added depth of flavor.

  2. Toast the Nuts or Seeds (optional): For a richer flavor, toast the nuts or seeds in a dry pan over medium heat until fragrant. Keep an eye on them to avoid burning.

  3. Combine Ingredients in a Food Processor: Add the chosen vegetables, toasted nuts or seeds (if using), garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, nutritional yeast (if using), salt, and pepper to a food processor. Pulse until a relatively smooth pesto forms. You can leave it slightly chunky for a more rustic texture.

  4. Taste and Adjust: Scrape down the sides of the food processor and give the pesto a taste. Adjust seasonings as needed. You might want to add more olive oil for a thinner consistency or a squeeze of extra lemon juice for added brightness.

  5. Store or Serve: Transfer the pesto to a jar and store it in the refrigerator covered with a layer of olive oil to prevent browning. It will stay fresh for up to a week. Alternatively, you can freeze the pesto in portions for longer storage.

“Very Vege” Pesto Serving Suggestions:

This versatile “Very Vege” pesto can be enjoyed in many ways:

  • Classic Pasta Dish: Toss cooked pasta with the pesto and a splash of reserved pasta water for a creamy and flavorful sauce.
  • Sandwich Spread: Spread the pesto on bread for a delicious and healthy sandwich filling. Pair it with mozzarella cheese, grilled chicken, or roasted vegetables for a more elaborate sandwich.
  • Pizza Topping: Spread a thin layer of pesto over your pizza dough before adding your favorite toppings.
  • Dip for Vegetables: Serve the pesto alongside crudités like carrot sticks, bell pepper slices, or zucchini sticks for a healthy and satisfying appetizer.
  • Stuffed Vegetables: Hollow out zucchini, bell peppers, or tomatoes and stuff them with a mixture of ricotta cheese and pesto. Bake them until tender and enjoy a vegetarian main course.

Why “Very Vege” Pesto Is a Great Leftover Recipe:

This “Very Vege” pesto is a fantastic way to use leftover vegetables and create a flavorful condiment that can be enjoyed in various ways. Here’s why it’s a great recipe for using leftovers:

  • Flexible Vegetable Base: The beauty of this recipe is its versatility. You can choose from a variety of vegetables, allowing you to use up leftover roasted vegetables, fresh greens leftover from a salad prep, or even wilted greens that might otherwise be discarded.
  • Freezes Well: Homemade pesto freezes beautifully. Portion the leftover pesto into ice cube trays or small containers and freeze for up to 3 months. This allows you to have a delicious and flavorful pesto on hand whenever you need it.
  • Minimal Waste: By using leftover vegetables, this recipe helps reduce food waste and allows you to turn what might otherwise be thrown away into a delicious and versatile condiment.
  • Budget-Friendly: Homemade pesto is typically more economical than store-bought varieties. Using leftover vegetables further reduces the cost and allows you to customize the flavor profile to your liking.
  • Meal Prep Potential: Make a large batch of pesto in advance and freeze it in portions. This allows you to have a flavorful base for quick and easy meals throughout the week.

Take a look at more recipes to reduce food waste here.

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