Ever since I can remember, I have been in love with Italian food. It glorifies two of favorite ingredients, cheese of any kind and pasta. When I worked at this oil and gas company many moons ago, I was introduced to pesto Alfredo chicken pasta. Growing up I never heard of pesto, even though I loved Italian food. Back in those days the internet was new and information was not readily available as it is today.
Around a certain time of the year, I like to scale back on eating so many processed foods. You can imagine as a food blogger, I am always trying out different products and recipes to bring the best to my blog. Last week I decided to commit to making 90% of my plant-based meals that take 20 minutes or less. If you have been following me then you know most if not all of my recipes come together based on what is my home. I noticed I had the ingredients for a traditional pesto, minus the cheese. I decided to whip up this quick and easy sauce and pair it with spiraled butternut squash noodles I purchased from my local grocery store. You can pair it with anything you want; spaghetti, gnocchi, throw it in your Alfredo sauce, the options are endless.
A few differences you will notice from my recipe and other recipes is that I did not use nutritional yeast. I have used this in the past for a few recipes but I don’t love the product enough to use it as the ultimate replacement for cheese. I’d rather manipulate flavors by trying other whole food items or seasonings. When I think about Parmesan cheese, it has its own distinct flavor and I thought about veggies that have a peculiar taste. Olives are what came to mind and I LOVED the outcome. Also, I only used half the oil that most would use in pesto sauce. If you are not watching your fat intake you can go all out with as much oil as you like.
Check out my recipe and comment below if you decide to make it!
- 1 1/2 cups fresh basil (loosely packed)
- 2/3 cup pine nuts
- 3 cloves garlic
- 10 olives
- juice of 1/2 medium lemon, adjust to taste
- 3/4 tsp pink himalayan salt, adjust to taste
- 1/2 tsp black pepper or cayenne, adjust to taste
- 2 1/2 tbsp avocado oil
- 1/4 cup water, adjust to desired consistency
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor except oil and water. Pulse on medium speed and slowly add oil and water until nuts are ground should be ground. Pesto should have still texture and not be completely smooth.
- Adjust seasonings to taste.