Oil Free Baked Eggplant + Eggplant Pesto Stacks


I recently read a post on Instagram from someone who baked eggplant without oil and of course I had to try it because roasted eggplant is usually so greasy and mushy. These little beauties come out crispy and are great plain but they are also fabulous stacked with tomato sauce and pesto! Continue reading “Oil Free Baked Eggplant + Eggplant Pesto Stacks”

Arugula Pesto Toast with Pan Seared Smashed Yellow Tomatoes


Just lunch on a Friday but a great idea for a snack or appetizer too! Or, use the pesto on pasta or pizza. This recipe makes about 2 cups so I am going to freeze the pesto for future use.

By the way, those are pan roasted smashed yellow tomatoes and crusty toasty homemade bread.

2 packed cups arugula
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup filtered water
1/2 cup nut parmesan
1 tablespoon sweet white miso
1/3 cup pine nuts
The zest of a small lemon
1 clove of garlic
S and P, to taste

Place everything into the processor and let it go until it becomes like pesto. Enjoy!

Farmer’s Market Pesto Trapanese


I have to be honest and say that I have never had Pesto alla Trapanese but with all of these beautiful tomatoes and basil from the market I was inspired to try something new. There is a recipe for Trapanese in the Vedge cookbook and of course Lidia Bastianich, the famous Italian chef and restauranteur, has her own recipe. So after doing some research and experimenting, this is my take on a basically raw, seedy tomato sauce. It is really a perfect farmer’s market summer dish.


Pesto alla Trapanese
2 cups fresh tomatoes (I used the mix pictured here)
A big handful of fresh basil, about 12 leaves
1/4 cup raw almonds
1 big clove of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil, optional

Place all ingredients into the food processor and process until a sauce forms. It is kind of more saucy than pesto-y but you can adjust the nuts, basil and garlic to your liking. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

When ready to make a meal out of it, boil up some spaghetti or linguine and toss the hot pasta with the pesto. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top for garnish and crunch. Enjoy!

Saffron Polenta over Cauliflower Mash Topped with Pumpkin Sage Pesto & Sautéed Shallots


If you read this bog you know I am a huge fan of Isa Moskowitz. I recently got to see her do a live show down at the City Winery. Funny, entertaining and great food!

I follow Isa’s restaurant, Modern Love on FB, and they recently posted a picture of this new dish: Saffron Polenta With Pumpkin Sage Pesto, Cauliflower Puree, & Crispy Shallots. They said, “It’s here now and waiting for you.” Yes, if I lived in Omaha I would have been right over.

I figure since I can’t easily get to Modern Love, although I am planning a field trip, I might as well try to imitate the dishes and flavor combos in my own kitchen. I used parsley to balance out the earthiness of the sage in the pesto which, like with any pesto, is better if made ahead of time. giving the pesto time to mellow and the flavors to marry. The earthy sage contrasts so nicely with the freshness of the saffron. In fact, that little spoonful I place gently on top of my dish was definitely not enough! The cauliflower mash and sautéed shallots add wonderful texture.

Note: Depending on how many people you are serving, there will be leftovers.

Saffron Polenta
1/2 cup uncooked organic polenta
1 1/2 cups water
Pinch saffron threads

Pour water into a pot. Rub the saffron threads between your fingers and drop them into the water. Bring it to a boil and then add the polenta. Reduce the flame and whisk until the polenta soaks up the water. Take the polenta off the heat and pour it into a rectangular baking dish and spread it out so that it is about 1″ thick. Let it sit for about 30 minutes for it to set. Cut it into any shape you like. I like to use a circle cutter.

Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a skillet and add the polenta. Let it go until it is starting to get crispy on the first side. You might even hear it popping. Then flip it and cook the second side.

Pumpkin Sage Pesto (makes about 1 cup, can be frozen)
1/2 cup fresh sage
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon chickpea or sweet white miso
1 clove of garlic
Pinch of salt

Place all of the ingredients into the food processor and process until it comes together and forms pesto.

Cauliflower Mash
1 head of cauliflower
Vegan milk *
Vegan butter *
Salt and white pepper, to taste

Cut the cauliflower into chunks and place in a pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook until the cauliflower is soft. Drain and place back into the pot.

* The amounts of milk and butter will vary, just like mashed potatoes, depending on the texture you like.

Start with a small amount of milk and butter use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. Add more butter or milk if necessary. Season with salt and white pepper.

Sautéed Shallots
Shallots, about 1 per person

Slice the shallots and water or oil sauté until soft.

Plate it up however you like and enjoy!

Pesto Roundup

Pesto can be any combination of herbs and nuts. I am sure that is heresy to some people, but I like to be creative. Spread pesto on toast, mix it into a tofu scramble, toss it with pasta or spread it on pizza. Freeze whatever you have leftover for pesto all year round!

1. Basic Pesto. Nothing like fresh basil from the garden.


2. Ligurian Pasta. Pesto with pasta and potatoes. What is there not to love?

3. Basil Mint Pesto. A dollop on soup goes a long way to add superb flavor.

IMG_04144. Pistachio Mint Pesto. Use on pasta or on a sandwich.

IMG_09835. Garlicky Almond Basil Pesto. Another Valentine’s Day dish.


6. Garlic Scape Pesto. Keep an eye out for garlic scapes in the springtime and then hoard it!

Arugula Garlic Scape Pesto & Roasted Potato Pizza

Garlic Scape Pesto & Spaghetti 

7. Broccoli Walnut Pesto. A creative, kid friendly pesto.

8. Roasted Red Pepper Pesto. Not traditional at all. Totally delicious.

9. Spinach Pistachio Nut Pesto. The shaved macadamia nut on top is such a great addition.

10. Green Pea Pesto. Why not?


11. Pine Nut Kale Pesto. Kale in pesto. A great way to get around the bitterness.