A jarred pesto sauce can be a classic kitchen staple to have in the kitchen when pressed for time. Sometimes you might not have the fresh herbs available in the pantry to make fresh pesto at home. Surprisingly, pesto does not just have to be used on pasta (although it does taste good that way). I have used mint, parsley and cilantro together as a mix as a substitute for basil to make a pesto sauce. Making it in a vitamix or other blender makes the pesto whipped up and smooth, which can then even be used as garnish for things like chicken.
I have also tried my hand at replacing the grated parmesan cheese for nutritional yeast, to make an easy switch to a vegan pesto recipe– which I will share below:
Easy Vegan Basil +Mint Pesto (makes about 1 cup of pesto)
- 1 cup basil leaves, rinsed
- handful (1/4 cup) torn mint leaves, rinsed
- 1 large garlic clove (add another if you want it stronger)
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- fresh cracked pepper (2 generous pinches)
- 1/3 cup (large handful) walnut halves
- 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast powder
- 3-4 Tablespoons olive oil
- salt to taste
- In a food processor or blender, pulse the basil, mint, walnuts, garlic clove(s), lemon zest, salt and pepper together until chunky (about 30 seconds).
- Next add in the nutritional yeast and pulse a few times to combine. Slowly pulse in the lemon juice, and then drizzle in a stream, the olive oil until it begins to combine more into a thickened sauce (30 seconds to a minute) Enjoy to your liking and consistency!
I also wanted to give some tips and other recipe ideas for how to take jarred or fresh pesto and utilize it in different ways for your meals, whether it is for a family meal or for a party.
Also, if you have any other ideas for pesto then sound off below in the comment section!
Ideas For A Crowd/ Meals at Home:
- Mini Pesto Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup ‘shots’: I had seen an idea like this before with plain grilled cheese, so why not try spreading pesto on the inside of the bread and make the grilled cheese. Serve with a small glass of tomato soup to dunk it in.
- Turkey burger sliders with mozzarella and pesto: Turkey burgers can sometimes be bland but adding a spread of fresh pesto on the buns, along with a slice of fresh mozzarella and a roasted tomato slice sounds good, right? Try it out for some guests and see how they like it.
- Roasted tofu chunks with veggies and pesto: This idea is a bit unique and not something I have thought to try yet, but I might soon. Roast veggies that you like along with cubed tofu, and then toss in some pesto at the end to warm up and combine with the tofu and veggies.
- Healthier option for potato salad: A potato salad with mayo can be fattening, but a somewhat healthier option can be to add in some pesto instead. Maybe make it more alternative by adding in some roasted tomatoes or halved green string beans.
- Bruschetta with a pesto spread instead: Instead of rubbing garlic on the crostini bread slices, spread some pesto on it before adding the tomato and chopped basil. It will add some fresh zing to the classic bruschetta.
- Baked Brie cheese wheel topped with pesto: A warm baked brie cheese wheel can be a great addition for a party to spread on crackers or veggies. Put a spoonful of pesto on the brie wedge or round and warm through in the oven.
- Pizza Party options: Some people want options with pizza toppings, so instead of a classic red sauce with cheese, try a spread of pesto sauce with fresh mozzarella slices, and roast tomatoes on top. Or a veggie option can be made with a vegan pesto, topped with broccoli or other vegetables you like and even vegan cheese.