This cookbook has opened up an entire new
world of pesto for me, expanding the traditional basil/pine nuts/garlic base
ingredients to include just about any nut or seed you can imagine, and using
parsley, spinach, or even sundried tomatoes instead of basil. In the
"Parsley & Sunflower Pesto" (page 567), as the title implies, the
base ingredients consist of parsley (Italian flat leaf parsley in this case)
and sunflower seeds, which results in a milder, and grainier, pesto. The taste
of parsley is less prominent than basil, and sunflower seeds don't blend up as
smooth as pine nuts, but the combined flavors still produce a flavorful topping
for wherever you want pesto. Garlic and salt are still important players in
this preparation, and the recipe even includes the option of a bit of miso
paste, which I used. To get around the 1/3 cup of oil called for (and the
71 grams of fat), I substituted about ½ cup light flavored vegetable broth. I
have found that because pesto already contains oil from the blended nuts or
seeds, I never miss the oil, and the broth provides not only the liquid
component, but also another layer of mild flavor. I mixed this pesto into cooked tiny seashell
pasta so the nooks and crannies of the shells could capture the sauce, and this
ended up being a quick, delicious, and easy dinner I needed to make on short
notice one evening.
Keeping it "McDougall Friendly"
Substitute light flavored vegetable broth for the olive oil, adding
a little at a time until the pesto reaches the desired consistency.