It took a lot of experimenting to remake pesto into a delectable vegan dish. We’ve tried just removing the parm, but it wasn’t quite right. We tried nutritional yeast, different spices, different kinds of faux cheese, switching pine nuts for sunflower seeds, walnuts or pistachios. But one day last summer, we stuck gold. The missing flavor was the salty, briny parm. Well… miso tastes like that, too. Score! Here it is, a perfectly balanced, simple basil pesto – vegan style.
2 large cloves garlic, skins removed & halved
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1 Tbl. light miso (we use Westbrae Mellow Brown Rice Miso)
2 cups fresh basil leaves, washed and de-stemmed
1 1/2 Tbl. olive oil
In a food processor or blender, grind up the garlic and pine nuts. Add the miso and basil leaves, and pulse as you pour in the olive oil. It’s done when the pesto is smooth and blended.
This recipes makes about 1/2 cup, which is around 3 portions. You can toss it with your favorite cooked pasta, sauted veggies. It’s great in sandwiches, on crostini, or – as a pizza sauce. We made several small pizzas with pesto, Daiya and veggies. So good!