Vegan Low Fat Pesto

by - April 15, 2014

  Fat is a matter of opinion. Personally, I consume a vast amount of fat in my diet. I owe it to my nut butter addiction and need to use a large ratio of seeds to oats in my granola. The classic pesto has fat from the pine nuts, olive oil and cheese in it. The first two are awesome fats, they are great for you and your arteries, the third maybe less so. Either way, I do not consume parmesan cheese, and I have discovered a shocking ingredient that I find tastes so much better but still makes this pesto taste authentic. 
  Get ready.
  Are you ready?
  Miso paste.
  This asian staple has a distinctive cheesy taste that I assume comes from all the fermenting soy beans. You can pretty much get it in any supermarket in the UK, in the international food aisle, in asian markets and even on amazon. I adore miso paste and I promise you, it would not be one of those things you buy for a recipe and leave abandoned in your pantry until ever after. Apart from, of course, miso soup, you can use this baby in salad dressings, marinades, other soups and sauces. Even popiah. I have so many miso-orientated recipes, you'll probably have to buy several. So, yes, no wastage.
  The reason I chose to forgo olive oil in this recipe was because I wanted to see if it was possible. And it is. But if you love your olive oil, as I do, feel free to swap the liquid in the recipe for it. 
  Pine nuts, on the other hand, I was not willing to part with. Never. I couldn't see the point in pesto if it was pine-nut-less. It is like peanut-free peanut butter. It's oxymoron. But, understandably, this little kernel (fun fact! not actually a NUT per se) tends to burn a considerably large hole in your pocket. And I find walnuts do fill the void quite well. But be sure to grind them up first before measuring.

  Okay enough talk.

For two portions:

1 cup packed baby spinach // 1 cup basil // 1 tbsp miso paste // 1.5 tsp garlic powder (or 2 cloves roasted garlic*) // 1/4 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice // 1 tbsp pine nuts // Almond milk

Blend the greens into a pulp in the food processor, add the miso, garlic, lemon juice and pine nuts and grind until well mixed. Slowly add almond milk until the desired consistency is reached. This makes two rather generous portions, but I made a huge zoodle pesto mix with truffle oil on top.

*To roast garlic, separate the cloves still in their skin, place on a baking tray and make at 200 degrees C for about 10 minutes or until insanely creamy and fragrant. I recommend roasting the whole garlic because roughly 80% will not make it into the pesto stage (i.e. you will repel vampires within a 400 mile radius) 

And, on another note, garlic is my soulmate. And true friends let you eat garlic without complaining or judging. I choose my friends based on their garlic tolerance. And it works out perfectly. 

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