What to Make with Summer Basil (Pesto & Roasted Tomato Basil Sauce)

IMG_5426This is my little baby crop of basil that I grew in a Greenbo planter on my railing. Today I turned it into two of my favorite sauces: pesto and roasted tomato sauce. Here are the recipes.

1 cup fresh basil
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 garlic clove
Pinch of salt

Place all ingredients into the processor and let it rip until incorporated. Use on pizza, toast or pasta.

Roasted Tomato Basil Sauce
2 lbs. red and yellow tomatoes
1 big onion
6 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt, a few pinches
1/2 cup fresh basil

Cut the tomatoes and onion into quarters and peel the garlic. Sprinkle with olive oil and salt and roast in a 350 oven until soft, about 30 minutes.

Add all of the ingredients, including any juices, into the Vitamix or blender, add the basil, and let it rip. Process for 30 seconds or longer depending on how chunky you like your sauce.

Freeze any leftovers. Enjoy!

Zucchini Sandwich with Pistachio-Mint Pesto


I just made myself an early lunch inspired by a recipe on my friend Anja’s blog, A Suitcase Full of Mangoes. She grilled zucchini and made a terrific sounding tomato pistachio pesto with sundried tomatoes which I will be making in the near future. But, today, with the last of the zucchini from the CSA and leftover pistachio mint pesto, I toasted up some good bread from Bread Alone and voila, a fantastic sandwich.

Zucchini *
Yellow zucchini *
Pistachio-Mint Pesto
Olive oil

Slice the zucchinis thinly. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a non-stick skillet and cook until soft on the first side. Flip to cook the second side.

Toast the bread. Spread pesto on both sides. Place the zucchinis on the pesto and sandwich it up. Enjoy!

CSA 2013 Week #7

Asparagus with Pistachio-Mint Pesto over Penne


On a day after I teach and then practice yoga, I like to come home midday and make myself a big, elaborate pasta lunch. This is one of them: a delicious pesto tossed with fresh asparagus! This makes more pesto than I need for this dish so I will be using the leftover for tofu scramble tomorrow.

makes 2 servings

1/2 lb. penne
6 asparagus spears
1 shallot
Olive oil
S and P, to taste
Ice bath

1/2 cup mint
1/2 cup parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons pistachios
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tablespoon chickpea miso

Make the pesto by placing all ingredients in the food processor and combining. Set aside.

Boil water. You will use this to blanche the asparagus and make the pasta. Set up the ice bath by filling a bowl with ice cubes and cold water.

Break off the bottom tip of the asparagus and then cut into penne sized pieces, about thirds. Drop into the boiling water and blanche for 3 minutes (exactly 3, set a timer.) Remove the asparagus with a spider strainer and drop into the ice bath to stop the cooking. Lay the aspargus on a kitchen towel to dry.

Add the penne to the water and cook until al dente.

Thinly slice the shallots and sauté in olive oil and a dash of salt until soft. Add the asparagus to heat through. Add the pesto and mix with the asparagus and shallots  Then, add the penne and combine well.


Pesto Tofu Scramble (or What To Do With Leftover Pesto)

I don’t think this post needs too much explanation. I started making tofu scrambles with leftover pesto because there is always leftover pesto. Sometimes I freeze it in ice cube trays and, once frozen, pop them into a freezer bag making for an easy pesto pasta lunch. Or, I just scramble up the tofu and mix in the pesto. A delicious and quick breakfast/lunch/brunch idea.

I am not posting exact measurements because this is more of a method than a recipe, so use your judgement. A 14oz. box of tofu will make enough tofu scramble for about 4 adults. I love to add turmeric both for color and the healthful benefits. Finally, a few spoonfuls of pesto will make it very flavorful!

Extra firm tofu
Olive oil

Press the tofu for only about 10 minutes, just long enough to get the major amounts of water out.

Dice up the onion and sauté in olive oil and a pinch of salt until translucent. Add a few dashes of turmeric and stir around to coat.

Crumble the tofu into the pan with the onions and stir to coat. Mix in a few spoonfuls of pesto and heat through.

Enjoy with toast, potatoes, or salad!

A Valentine’s Day Menu: Warm Asparagus Salad with Toasted Almonds & Avocado Dressing, Spaghetti with Garlicky Almond Basil Pesto & Chocolate Chip Fig Banana Cake with Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream

Last night VegNews Magazine posted an article called “8 Delicious Vegan Aphrodisiacs.” These 8 foods are: almonds, asparagus, avocados, banana, basil, chocolate, figs and garlic.

Since we are going out to Candle Cafe West for an official Valentine’s Day dinner tomorrow night, I decided it would be fun to make a full on aphrodisiac menu for tonight’s pre-Valentine’s Day dinner, and, as any good scientist would do, measure the results. Enjoy!

Valentine’s Day Dinner Menu
Warm Asparagus Salad with Toasted Almonds & Avocado Dressing
Spaghetti with Garlicky Almond Basil Pesto
Chocolate Chip Fig Banana Cake with Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream


Warm Asparagus Salad with Toasted Almonds
1 bunch asparagus
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 avocado
1 head of lettuce (I used a heart of romaine)
Olive oil
S and P

Avocado Dressing
1/2 avocado
1/2 cup water
The juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt, to taste

Toast the almonds in a 350 oven for about 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Check on them!

Snap off the ends of the asparagus and then cut into small pieces. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper and place under the broiler until slightly charred.

To make the dressing, place the flesh of half of the avocado along with the water, the juice of 1/2 a lemon and a dash of salt into the food processor. Process until it thins out. Add more water to get it to a nice dressing consistency. Taste and adjust lemon and salt.

Chop up the lettuce. In a big bowl, add the lettuce, warm asparagus and almonds and toss with the dressing. Serve topped with few slices of avocado.


Spaghetti with Garlicky Almond Basil Pesto
1 lb. of gluten-free spaghetti
1 cup basil
1/4 cup olive oil
3 big garlic cloves
2 tablespoons raw whole almonds
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (nooch)
Salt, to taste

Make the spaghetti. Combine all ingredients in the processor and combine until it looks like pesto. Toss with warm pasta.


Chocolate Chip Fig Banana Cake with Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream
2 flax eggs (1 flax egg = 1 tablespoon ground flax + 3 tablespoons water)
3 very ripe big bananas
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup vegan cane sugar
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup pureed dried figs (about 6oz.)
1/2 cup mini vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.

Prepare the flax eggs by whisking the flax and water. Let it stand for a few minutes to get really thick. Mash the bananas really well.

Place the figs in the food processor and process until it forms a paste.

Combine all of the ingredients in a big bowl and bring together into a dough. Pour into 9×9 pan and bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Serve with vegan chocolate ice cream.

Enjoy the LOVE!