Cheese-less Pesto!

“You’re a what?”

I hadn’t heard the word vegan until my son Jacob, then in college, announced he had become one 8 years ago.  Being vegan then was hard; he had to lobby to convince his college dining service to offer soy milk.

He introduced me to quinoa, the now ubiquitous protein as popular as brown rice. I learned about other grains and how to cook vegetables in ways I never had.  Tofu became a staple.

A family favorite, basil pesto on pasta seemed in jeopardy.   What about the cheese? Unable to accept soy-cheese substitutes, I began making  pesto cheese-less.  Those that want, add it at the table.

There’s no recipe; I  toss everything into the food processor: olive oil, fresh washed basil leaves, a handful of pine nuts, a few cloves of garlic, salt and  pepper.   Sometimes I add a hot pepper to kick it up, or leftover spinach.  Adjust seasoning and consistency to taste.

The garden’s basil beckons.  I make enough to freeze in small containers or ice cube trays. Nothing like a little July in mid-January.

Parsley can be added too. 

Another garden view. 

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About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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21 Responses to Cheese-less Pesto!

  1. Yum, Pesto is one of my favorites. Never been adventurous;always added the same ingredients to the food processor. No cheese=less calories..I’m gonna try it!

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  2. Leah says:

    I love your photos! Sadly, I cannot go without cheese. Probably my favorite food group. I’ve actually gotten used to eating less meat. But dairy I cannot abandon.

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    • I eat less meat and try to eat lots of fish. We love cheese– this was a concession- no one seems to miss it in the pesto and we add it on top and mix it in. And I haven’t even gotten into yet what happened when they became kosher, how one daughter in law eats gluten-free, one can’t eat eggs, and how the other son and daughter in law hold by a higher kosher dairy standard! Got to have a sense of humor!

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  3. Izzy says:

    Beautiful! I love the photos. I, too, had a codependent relationship with cheese until I recently became vegan. I’ve been wanting to try pesto, but just cannot seem to grow a basil plant for the life of me. One day!

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    • My husband has the “green thumb.” We go through a lot of basil; he plants extra because I use it up quickly.
      You can buy it in the grocery– almost as good! Good luck with the vegan diet.

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  4. Kathy says:

    Love the photos. Love, love, love basil. I like the idea of freezing the pesto for some summer tastes in winter. I need to do that. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. We saw Erin tonight. I’ll send a pix. all good, Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  6. Ther herbs look fantastic, and the recipe sounds delicious, even without the cheese.
    Your son has a great mother, you know that? 🙂

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  7. carolisle says:

    I swear I can smell it 🙂

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  8. restlessjo says:

    I love all this culinary activity, especially as I’m so lazy in the kitchen myself.
    How can anyone live without cheese?

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  9. jakesprinter says:

    Beautiful Garden my friend i love the colorful florwers around ,Thanks for sharing 🙂

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  10. I love to be close-up with basil and parsley…amazing fragrances!!!! Great photos, Lisa! 🙂

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  11. Pingback: Sunday Post: Close-Up: Simple Tips for First Day of School Anxiety « Positive Parental Participation

  12. Jo Bryant says:

    I doubt I could ever be vegan…cheese is too great a love but the pesto sounds interesting

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  13. Pingback: Sunday Post: Up Close « Geek It Till It Hurts

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