Saturday, July 25, 2015

Parsley & Sunflower Pesto

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" checklist:

  • Substitute light flavored vegetable broth for the olive oil, adding a little at a time until the pesto reaches the desired consistency.

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