Sunday, October 3, 2010

Vegan Pesto and Bruschetta

That's one of Bunny's awesome carrot cupcakes in the back. It's topped with candied ginger (too cute!).

Last Sunday Rob and I made vegan pesto (with our very own basil) and some great bruschetta too. We spent most of the day in the garden planting collards, kale, broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts, and then we picked a big basket of basil and clown nose peppers and went in and started cooking.

Our basil is so pretty right now. It's huge, and it's covered in flowers--purple spires visited by hummingbirds. It smells delicious in the sun--kind of like a really good pizza place. We have so much of the stuff that I often pick big branches just to use in bouquets. (All my bouquets have to be edible because our cats will literally devour them.)

Anyway, we made a great oily high-calorie pesto with loads of pinenuts and homegrown garlic. We served it over whole wheat fusilli. I made the bruschetta topping with organic heirloom tomatoes I bought at New Leaf Market; they came in all sorts of funky shapes and colors. The bruschetta recipe calls for a baguette, but I used some great rosemary-olive bread that Mom bought me at the Tallahassee Downtown Market.

Vegan Pesto


1 ½ cups fresh basil

1/3 cup olive oil

1 cup pine nuts

3 cloves garlic

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

¾ tsp salt


Combine all ingredients with an immersion blender until nuts are ground and you have a smooth paste. As a cautionary note: I try not to pack the measuring cup with basil leaves--because if you add too much basil your pesto will be really bitter. I like it best when I have more pinenuts and less basil.

Basil Bruschetta


4 cups cherry tomatoes, chopped

6 clown peppers, chopped

1 clove fresh garlic, minced

1 small handful basil leaves, chopped

2 Tbls balsamic vinegar

3 Tbls olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 baguette


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Add the tomatoes, peppers, basil, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper to a bowl and stir to combine. Slice the baguette, brush the top of each piece with olive oil, and arrange the pieces on a baking sheet. Toast the bread until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, top the toasted bread with the tomato mixture and serve.

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