Simple and Fresh Pesto

I love basil! And this year is the first year we actually have happy basil plants. It can only mean one thing: PESTO TIME!

Pesto is so fresh and delicious it’s always very exciting to have some in the kitchen. The traditional recipes call for pine nuts, but, hum, these are really expensive! I kept things simple using ingredients that are always in my pantry, and I’m more than satisfied with the result. Here’s my simple, simple, simple pesto recipe!

Here’s what you need:

  • Enough fresh basil to fill up your blender, about 5 cups (leaves and tender stems)
  • 2 tbs tahini
  • 2 tbs almond butter
  • 1-2 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbs nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 whole lemon, rind removed
  • 1 tsp salt (I used coarse sea salt)
  • pepper, chipotle pepper flakes, or red pepper flakes to taste

Here’s what you do:

  1. Wash the basil and pat dry.
  2. Transfer all the ingredients, but the olive oil, into your blender and blend.
  3. Slowly add the olive oil until you get your desired consistency.
  4. Transfer to an air-tight container and keep in the fridge.
  5. Enjoy on everything!

I love this pesto because it is great on everything: sandwiches, as a salad dressing and, of course, pasta. I used raw kelp noodles for a lighter no cook meal, and it was delicious! Let me know what your recipe for pesto is!

 

Sweet Corn and Basil Salad

Corn is finally in season over here, and I just can’t get enough! Near our new place, there’s this little health food store that takes orders on Facebook, and I just think this is the best system ever. They let you know when produce, like corn, will be in and you can let them know what quantity you’ll buy. It’s just perfect: you get to enjoy the freshest produce, and they don’t order too much. Anyways, all that to say that today I got to pick up my 12 corn ears! They are so delicious, I actually hate one raw: super fresh and extra sweet! While I was at the shop, I also grabbed a bag of arugula and basil. Perfect for a summery salad!

sweet-corn-salad2

Here is what you need:

  • 4-6 fresh corn ears
  • 4 cups of arugula
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 4 tomatoes or 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • salt, hot sauce and pepper to taste

Here is what you do:

  1. Peel your corn ears and lightly brush them with some of the sesame oil. Place on a lined cooking sheet and sprinkle them with some salt. Place in your oven set to broil for 10 minutes, turn them over and let them sit for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. If your barbeque is out, you should grill your corn!
  2. Roughly chop the tomatoes and the basil. On your lined cookie sheet, place the tomatoes and half of the basil. Add a few pinches of salt and pepper and place in your oven set on broil for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. In your salad bowl, mix the remaining sesame oil, vinegar, and soy sauce. Add hot sauce or salt and pepper to your taste. Toss in the arugula, the rest of the basil and the tomatoes.
  4. Cut the corn from the cobs and add to the salad. Give a quick stir and enjoy!

sweet-corn-salad1

This is such a nice side dish to any barbeque you might be attending, or to accompany veggie burgers or anything really. It’s sweet, fresh and full of summer. Let me know if you try this out!


Pour cette jolie salade de fin d’été (et oui, déjà!), vous aurez besoin de:

  • 4-6 épis de maïs
  • 4 tasses de roquette
  • 1 tasse de basilic frais
  • 4 tomates ou 2 tasses de tomates cerises
  • 2 c. à table d’huile de sésame
  • 1 c. à table de vinaigre balsamique
  • 1 c. à café de sauce soja
  • sel, poivre et sauce piquante selon votre goût
  1. Enlever les peaux des épis de maïs et les placer sur une plaque allant au four recouverte de papier d’aluminium ou de papier sulfurisé. Huiler légèrement les épis avec un peu d’huile de sésame et saupoudrer quelques pincées de sel. Place au four sur le mode ‘grill’ pour 10 minutes, retourner les épis et laisser cuire encore 10 minutes. Sortir du four et laisser refroidir. Si vous avez un barbeque, c’est l’occasion parfaite de s’en servir! Lorsque les épis sont manipulables, couper les grains de maïs et réserver.
  2. Couper les tomates en morceaux et hacher le basilic. Placer les tomates sur votre plaque et ajouter la moitié du basilic. Ajouter un peu de sel et de poivre, bien mélanger et enfourner pour 10 minutes encore sur ‘grill’. Retirer du four et réserver.
  3. Dans un grand saladier, mélanger le reste d’huile, le vinaidre et la sauce soja. Vous pouvez ajouter du sel, de la sauce piquante ou du poivre selon votre goût. Ajouter la roquette, le reste de basilic, le maïs et les tomates. Bien mélanger et déguster!

Buckwheat Stuffed Zucchinis

A few months ago I went to a bulk store where I bought a giant bag of buckwheat groats. I love the idea of adding more whole grains to my kitchen, but this bag of grains got lost in my pantry. When I found it again this morning, I decided to give it a go. I also had pretty little ball zucchinis waiting to be cooked, so I combined both and made stuffed zucchinis.

stuffed-zucchini

I started by cooking the buckwheat groat to have a better idea of their taste. I was really surprised! These grains have a subtle bread-like taste that is very mild, but still unique. These are also great because they cook so quickly! They would be a perfect alternative for rice as a side dish too.

stuffed-zucchini3

Combined with the fresh summery flavours of tomatoes and basil, these stuffed zucchinis were delicious!

stuffed-zucchini2

Here is what you need:

For the stuffed zucchinis:

  • 1 cup buckwheat groats
  • 8 king oyster mushrooms
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 3 stalks green onions
  • 1/3 cup pepitas
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4-5 ball zucchinis

For the sauce:

  • the flesh of the zucchinis
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 3 laurel leaves
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary leaves
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Here is what you need:

  1. In a sauce pan, combine the buckwheat groats with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and let simmer until all the water is absorbed. This should take less than 10 minutes. Set aside in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Cut the mushrooms in tiny pieces. In your sauce pan, add the oil and the mushrooms and let cook on medium-high heat. Add the tomato paste along with 1/2 cup and mix well. Once all the water has evaporated, add the mushrooms to the buckwheat.
  3. Mince the garlic cloves and green onions and add to the mix.
  4. Add the chickpeas, pepitas and basil leaves and mix until everything is well combined. Taste and add salt and pepper accordingly. Set aside.
  5. Cut the caps off your zucchinis and hollow them out using a spoon. Make sure your zucchinis are still about 5-7mm thick all around. Set aside.
  6. Fill the zucchinis with the buckwheat filling and close with their caps. Place on a lined cookie sheet. Cook for 45 minutes at 350F.
  7. Dice the 3 tomatoes and place them in your sauce pan. Add the zucchini flesh and the laurel leaves, rosemary leaves and red pepper flakes. Place on medium heat and mix.
  8. Once the tomatoes are completely mushed, remove from the heat. Add the basil leaves, salt and pepper. Using your wand mixer, process the sauce until smooth. Set aside.
  9. To serve, place some sauce at the bottom of your plate, add a zucchini and garnish with some green onions and basil leaves. Enjoy!

stuffed-zucchini4

These are so cute! They were delicious: the sauce added just enough moisture to the dish, while the buckwheat made it super filling and delicious. The contrasting textures of the mushrooms and pepitas also made every bite exciting. But, really, how cute are they? Let me know if you try this out!

Zucchini Raviolis, perfect for the BBQ!

Zucchini are so good right now and super cheap too! That’s why I went a little overboard at the farmers’ market and bought a ton. I thought I would try making something summery that would be perfect grilled on a BBQ. Now, I don’t have a BBQ, but I think this would make the perfect addition to your vegan grill.

zucchini-ravioli

These little raviolis are super cute, and you can customize them to your liking by changing the filling. I used some fresh basil for an extra summery touch, but I think sun-dried tomatoes would also be a great option.

zucchini-ravioli2

Here is what you need (for 14 raviolis):

  • 2 zucchinis
  • 1 cup firm tofu, drained and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, separated in two.
  • 2 tbs ketchup or tomato paste
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

For garnish:

  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • Red pepper flakes

Here is what you do:

  1. In your food processor, place all the ingredients except the zucchinis and half of the basil leaves, and process until you have a firm, slightly sticky dough. Set aside.
  2. With your potato peeler, make long ribbons with the zucchini.
  3. Take two zucchini ribbons and place them in a plus sign (+). Place one or two leaves of basil in the center with one tablespoon of the tofu filling. Pat to even down and close the zucchini flaps over the filling. Flip over so that the closing of your ravioli is on the underside. Place the ravioli on a lined baking sheet.
  4. Once all your raviolis are done, add one slice of tomato on each one. Place in your oven set to broil for 10 minutes, or grill on your BBQ. Sprinkle some red pepper flakes and fresh basil leaves before serving and enjoy!

zucchini-ravioli3

This is really good! The zucchini slices are barely cooked and therefore keep their nice crunch without being soggy. The filling is full of basil flavour and has a very meaty texture to it. The sunflower seeds also give it a nice crunch. Finally, the tomato slice balances out the lightness of the filling and adds a lot of flavour. I love how these look like little parcels of goodness! Let me know if you try this out!

Basil One Pot Pasta

It’s been very warm in Montreal these last few days, and so we have been eating salads after salads. Tonight though, I wanted something else. I thought I would try out the one-pot pasta that has been everywhere. This was perfect: one pot, delicious flavours and only one skill required: dumping. That’s my kind of Monday night cooking!

one-pot-pasta2

Here is what you need:

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion, washed and peeled
  • 8 carrots, washed and peeled
  • 3 small zucchinis
  • 8 carrots
  • 15 button mushrooms (white or coffee)
  • 4 stems of fresh basil
  • 1 cup coral lentils
  • 1/2 cup hemp seeds
  • spaghetti (I used 1/2 a pack of gluten-free spaghetti)
  • 1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Here is what you do:

  1. Peel the garlic and mince finely. Place in a large stockpot.
  2. Finely chop the onion and add to the pot.
  3. Shred the zucchinis, mushrooms, and carrots. Add to the pot.
  4. Finely chop the basil and add half of it to the pot. Keep the rest for garnish.
  5. Add the lentils, hemp seeds, spaghetti, chili pepper flakes and 8 cups of water.
  6. Put on the stove on high heat until fully boiling. Lower to medium heat and let simmer until the pastas are cooked. Taste and season to your taste. Most of the water should be absorbed, and you should be left with a rich and creamy sauce.
  7. Garnish with fresh basil and serve hot.

one-pot-pasta1

This is really simple, packed with yummy vegetables, and so satisfying. The great thing is that you will only have one pot to wash. You’ll probably have enough for lunch as well: even less work! Yup! I’m completely converted to one pot pasta. Seriously, it’s the best way to prepare pasta… or at least for lazy Mondays!

Pistou Soup

This is my version of my mom’s pistou soup. Pistou is the Provencal version of pesto: basil, garlic and olive oil! Pure green-gold in a spoon! For this version, however, I’ll be using my kale-parsley pesto because it is less expensive and also helps me use up all the kale that seems to appear magically in my fridge.

IMG_2938

Here is what you need:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch of green onions, minced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 zucchinis, cubed
  • 5 potatoes, cubed
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 cups green lentils
  • 2 tbs of fresh thyme (about 6-7 stalks)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • optional ingredients: 3 carrots (chopped), 2 stems of celery (chopped), 1 leek (minced), 1 cup walnuts

Here is what you do:

  1. In a large soup pot, saute the onion and garlic with a few tablespoons of water until fragrant.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients but keep the pesto last. Put on high heat.
  3. Cover with water, and add to more cups of water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer until the lentils are done.
  4. Remove from heat and add pesto. Give a quick stir.
  5. Serve hot with some warm bread.

IMG_2936.JPG

Using lentils also makes it super fast to prepare because there is no soaking required.This makes for a great lunch. It is super filling and comforting, while not being heavy. The flavours all work so well together, and the kale-parsley pesto is a great alternative to basil pistou.

Let me know if you give this a try!