Vegan Cashew Pesto

Food Friday is here again! It snuck up on us this week, didn’t it? But not to worry because I have a super easy and delicious recipe for you that’ll have all the flavor in your upcoming pasta, chicken, shrimp and even sandwiches covered!

It’s no secret that I love a good pesto sauce and that while pesto is great year round, it’s the sauciest, best and most flavorful this time of year. And often the basil leaves come right from your own backyard (or a green-thumbed relative or even local grocery). So it makes a whole lot of sense that I keep tweaking and changing our go-to pesto recipe for the better each season. And this one is the best yet. What makes it so special? Read on to find out…

The biggest reason this particular pesto recipe is so spectacular is because it never upsets our stomachs. Never. Why? We’ll because there is actually no dairy in this at all. A lot of people don’t realize it but that post dinner bloat and irritability is often caused by dairy and most of our favorite sauces out there are laden with milks, butters and cheeses which leave us feeling heavy and uncomfortable after. But they always taste so darn good so we keep going back for more and end up putting our stomachs through a grueling cycle of indigestion.

After a few bad cases of this and cutting majorly back on our dairy intake we started to notice that we felt a lot better. No post dinner bloat. No discomfort or gas (gasp! TMI!). But it’s so true. And ever so slowly I started altering favorite go-to recipes to remove dairy from them and substitute with great tasting alternatives while still keeping their classic flavor in tact.

One of the most difficult items to replace has been cheese and yogurt. While cow’s milk can easily be subbed with various nut milks without altering your recipes consistencies, cheese can really make or break it for you in the taste department. And don’t even get me started on non-dairy yogurt… but after embarking on a non-dairy-cheese-taste-test I found a pretty decent alternative for Parmesan cheese (long live the parm!!) by Follow your Heart. I used it in place of regular Parmesan in this pesto and have been sprinkling it on anything that calls for a little cheese since.

Now, although that was one of the major tweaks, the other is the cashews. Not surprisingly using cashews in place of traditional pine nuts was totally not planned but this mama brain forgot to buy pine nuts and was short handed during the dinner-cooking-frenzy and ended up using the only nut found in the pantry: cashews. And boy what a happy accident. Cashews added such a lush, creamy taste and texture without any of the after bite that sometimes happens with pine nuts. The ones I use are unsalted and raw. But you can use roasted, just be sure they are unsalted or alter salt accordingly.We have been making it and devouring it ever since.

Xo, Jules

Vegan Cashew Pesto Recipe:

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 2 cups of sauce

Ingredients:

-3 cups fresh basil leaves

-1/2 cup cashews

-1/2 cup olive oil

-2 cloves garlic

-1/3 cup non-dairy parmesan cheese

-1/2 tsp. salt and pepper

Instructions:

Just pop everything into your food processor and hit ‘start’. Give it a minute or so before checking to make sure everything is mixing and blending well. And that’s about it. Dish it over some some pasta, some chicken or even spread it on a sandwich.

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