Since I have gone vegan, I have been craving basil pesto and every single brand I found, contains Pecorino cheese. I eventually found a recipe online which I adjusted according to my taste. Most of you (living in Cape Town) is probably unfamiliar with kale as it is not a commonly found vegetable in town. I found the most amazing, organically grown flat kale at the Wellness Warehouse on Kloof Street, selling for less than R20 a 160gram packet.
Kale is a really important vegetable to include into your vegan diet, it is actually one of the healthiest veggies on earth. It is very low in calories and very high in fibre. It is also exceptionally rich in nutrients such as calcium and vitamin K, A and C. It also provides you with important minerals including iron!
Now you will see that this recipe can be made with basil or rocket. Take note that IF you use rocket, you need to use less than when using basil. The first time I made this pesto, I didn’t have basil and used the same amount of rocket and the pesto was very spicy. Remember that basil has a sweet taste whereas rocket has a spicy pepper taste.
You can keep this pesto in a sealed, airtight container for about up to a week or so. I love using it as a base in my vegan wraps or just eat it as a dip on my rice cakes! You can also use it as a pasta sauce and pizza base. This recipe makes quite a decent batch.
- 1 cup uncooked Kale
- ½ cup basil OR ¼ cup rocket (washed off)
- ½ cup crushed cashew nuts (unsalted)
- ½ cup sundried tomatoes (preserved in oil)
- 2x tablespoons olive oil (You can also use the oil from the preserved sundried tomatoes for a stronger tomato taste)
- 1x tablespoon lemon juice
- 2x chopped garlic cloves
- Pinch of salt (for cooking and taste)
- Heat a pot of water on the stove and add a pinch of salt
- Wash and stem the kale
- When the pot of water is boiling rapidly, add the kale and cook for 30 – 40 seconds. You will see it turning bright green compared to the uncooked kale
- Drain the kale and transfer it to your blender
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the blender and blend until semi-smooth (keep some crushed cashew nuts for presentation)
- Scrape the sides down constantly while blending. Taste and add salt if necessary.
- When the consistency is smooth, transfer the pesto to an airtight container and keep refrigerated
- Serve cold, topped with crushed cashew nuts or use as a pasta sauce, in salads or as a wrap or pizza basis