Saturday, May 11, 2013

Raw Vegan Pesto


1 cup (150ml) soaked raw cashew nuts
1 bunch of fresh Basil herb with stems
2 cloves of garlic 
6 tbsp virgin olive oil
Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

The amount of pesto you can process can be limited by the size of your food chopper – in a larger bowl you may need to use more nuts; otherwise it can be difficult to blend them properly. The above amounts were processed in approximately 1l large chopper bowl. 

  1. Soak cashews several hours (up to half a day) beforehand. Change water few times. This step not only softens the nuts but also neutralises anti-nutrients, present in dormant seeds. 
  2. Rinse Basil and chop the stems to 2-3 parts to make it easier to mix.
  3. Chop or grate the garlic to tiny pieces and leave to stand 5 minutes to activate health promoting compounds. 
  4. Put all ingredients into the chopper and process until even mixture is formed. 
  5. Eat fresh and if need to store, place into glass jar, add more olive oil to cover the top and close tight. 

Instead of cashew try to use pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, Brazils... Add different herbs in smaller amounts (together with Basil).

Serving suggestion:
Instead of usual pasta, this pesto tastes great with steamed cauliflower. You can use whole pieces of cauliflower or put them into the chopper (no need to wash after making pesto) to make mash (see picture). If you prefer something slightly more similar to traditional pasta/pesto, use buckwheat instead and add lots of fresh tomatoes, avocado and instead of cheese try to grate couple of Brazil nuts on the top.

I tried to use walnuts and sunflower seeds, soaked for half an hour, but this combination did not taste as good as cashews. The quality was more greasy and thicker, closer to shop-bought product than fresh home-made.

This can be due to higher amount of fat in sunflower seeds and walnuts. Cashews have more carbs and taste sweeter rather than fatty.

100g sunflower seeds - fat 51g - carbs 20g - protein 21g
100g walnuts - fat 65g - carbs 14g - protein 15g
100g cashews - fat 44g - carbs 33g - protein 18g