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As I eyeballed the big container of organic basil at Trader Joe’s last week, I knew what I had to do: make pesto.  Pesto is the food of the gods – an amazing blend of favors that lends itself to everything from traditional pasta sauce, to pizza topping, to a garnish for fish (or licking off the spatula).

Now when I got around to actually making my pesto, I realized two things: 1. pesto is normally made with parmesan cheese, which I no longer eat and 2. I didn’t have pine nuts in the house.  Then I realized two more things: 1. I have nooch (nutritional yeast) and 2. I have a big container of raw almonds.

So let’s get cooking.



  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 heaping tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 – 1 cup olive oil


In a strong blender or food processor (hello VitaMix), blend basil, almonds and garlic until very finely chopped.  Slowly add the olive oil until you have a paste-like consistency, or the consistency you prefer. Add nutritional yeast and dash of salt, blend to incorporate. Serve.

Now wasn’t that easy?  I like my pesto “chunky” – but you may like it smooth.  If that’s the case, simply blend the ingredients on a higher speed and add more oil.  If you don’t have pine nuts or almonds, I think you could certainly try walnuts or even pecans.  You can also leave out the nooch, but I think it added just the right flavor.

My plans for this pesto?  Pizza with pesto, eggplant and potatoes.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.

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Sesame Soba Noodles 

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