Christmas is in the air here in LA, from the decorated houses, lampposts and shop windows to the extra crazy traffic, to what feels like Jack Frost nipping at our noses. With one week and counting until friends and family gather for dinner, it’s never too early to plan the menu whether it’s a few guests or a crowd. Here’s a fabulous recipe that’s so versatile you can use it as an appetizer, main course or side dish.
Sun-dried Tomato Pesto. A vibrant red and green for your Christmas table and crazy delicious!
It’s simple to prepare in a food processor with just a few ingredients and so much better than the jarred variety. It can be made early on the day of your event and left at room temperature or made several days ahead and refrigerated. You’ll want to set it out to get it to room temperature if you choose the second option. Either way this pesto recipe frees you up to prepare more last minute items.
Here are some yummy holiday serving ideas:
- As an appetizer, you can simply plate the pesto in a pretty bowl, top it with fresh basil and surround it with crackers, sliced baguette, pita chips and/or crudités for a scrumptious dip. You can also use the pesto as a base for prepared canapés. Spread the pesto on toasted baguette slices and top with any number of ingredients such as grated vegan parm, chopped basil, chopped fresh tomatoes, chopped olives or capers.
- As a main course toss at least one cup of sun-dried tomato pesto, 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water, 2/3 cup of vegan feta and 1/4 cup of fresh chopped basil with a pound of hot pasta. Plate and drizzle some good extra virgin olive oil and fresh chopped basil on top. I brought this to a holiday potluck and it was devoured in minutes. And it wasn’t a vegan crowd.
- As a side dish toss with roasted vegetables such as zucchini, broccolini and cauliflower or roasted baby Yukon gold potatoes. Top with a bit of vegan grated parm and fresh chopped basil.
Wishing all who celebrate a most Merry and Joyous Christmas.
Please look for another Christmas recipe this Wednesday where I’ll show you how to make a classic traditional holiday entrée plant based.
Sun-dried Tomato Pesto
1 8.5 ounce jar sun-dried tomatoes in oil
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
3 cloves garlic, rough chopped
Zest of one lemon
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 cup basil leaves
2/3 cup grated vegan Parmesan
1/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil
Drain the sun-dried tomatoes reserving the oil. In the bowl of a food processor with the processing blade inserted, pulse the sun-dried tomatoes, walnuts and garlic until broken down. Add the zest salt, basil leaves and vegan cheese and process until well blended but still chunky, scraping down the sides occasionally. With the motor running drizzle in the reserved sun-dried tomato oil and the EVOO just until incorporated. Stir up well. Taste for seasoning. If using within a few hours, you can leave the pesto, covered, at room temperature, otherwise refrigerate until ready to use, taking out a few hours ahead to get to room temperature. I don’t like cooking pesto, as it tends to separate and get oily.
About Deborah Brooks
Deborah is currently a documentary film producer. She is also a former certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition coach. The shutdown of business due to Covid-19 and the implication of an animal wet market connection caused her to rethink her high animal protein food lifestyle. She has spent the last year exploring the world of plant based eating for her own health as well as the health of the planet and all of its sentient beings. Her recipes can be found on Instagram. She would love you to follow along on her journey.
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