Sunday, October 13, 2019

Cilantro Pesto, Vegan and Oil-free

Beautiful emerald green Cilantro Pesto, Vegan and Oil-free, has an amazing number of uses; it is fabulous as a dressing mixed with veggies, bean, and grain salads, as a sauce stirred into hot/cold pasta, roasted veggies, and soups, spread on sandwiches and wraps, as a dip for warm bread, as a marinade for tofu, or diluted with some lemon juice to make a delicious salad dressing.... the list goes on. It makes a great appetizer too: Swirl a spoonful or two into Hummus or place a spoonful in a small saucer to serve with your favorite warm breads/tortillas. This beautiful pesto, which is quite similar to the Indian fresh chutneys, can have a little kick to it if the Jalapeño chile has some or all of the core left in.

Variations:

Almonds, pistachios, cashews, coconut, or other seeds could be substituted for the pepitas; if using coconut in place of pepitas, it does not need roasting; fresh, frozen, or dried unsweetended coconut maybe used.

A cooked onion maybe added while processing the pesto.

Ingredients:

1 large bunch fresh Cilantro, about 2 cups packed
1-2 cloves fresh Garlic
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Pepitas (Pumpkin seeds) OR other nuts/seeds, toasted
1 Jalapeño chile, cored for a mild pesto
1 tsp dry roasted Whole Cumin Seeds, ground fine
1-2 fresh Limes/Lemons, juiced

Method:

Roast the nuts/seeds you are using in a dry skillet without any oil to a pale gold. Remove from heat. Place the toasted seeds on a heat-resistant plate or bowl and set aside to cool.

Sort the cilantro to remove weeds and yellow or spoiled leaves. Wash thoroughly in several changes of fresh water. Drain well and trim off brown ends of the stems.

Peel garlic and trim the stem end.

Stem and cut Jalapeño -  for a mild pesto remove the core with the seeds and membranes using a teaspoon and discard; leave core in and/or use more chiles for a spicy pesto.

Place all the ingredients with half of the lime juice and process in a food processor container fitted with the metal blade or a blender until finely puréed. You may have to scrape the sides to push all the ingredients into the blades a few times. Taste and add more lime juice or seasonings to taste.

Spoon into a clean, dry glass jar and keep refrigerated until needed.

Enjoy!!


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