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Here’s a seasonal dish made from locally grown eggplant and fresh basil. Home-made pesto is really easy to make and is so much more flavorful to make fresh compared to store-bought. It does require a food processor, though a high-speed blender may do the trick. Since traditional pesto often uses parmesan cheese, I use raw cashews or sunflower seeds to get the creamy taste and texture. These tasty stacks are served with roasted red pepper and cashew cheese on top of warm amaranth (one of my favorite ancient grains!)
1 red bell pepper
1 cup amaranth
1 cup of fresh basil (or cilantro)
1 cup raw cashews
2 garlic cloves
sea salt (extra minerals)
nutritional yeast (good source of B vitamins)
This meal is pretty quick to make (yay) you can probably have it on the table in less than 30 min. First measure your dry amaranth and add 1 cup of the grain to 2 cups of water in a pot with lid. Bring to boil and let simmer like rice until all water is absorbed (about 10-15 min). Slice red bell pepper into strips and remove seeds. Cut eggplant into half-inch slices and brush both lightly with olive oil and place on lightly oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle with a few leaves of chopped basil and a dash of salt and pop in oven at 350 for about 10-15 min, until eggplant is soft.
Meanwhile set aside a small handful of cashews and then add the rest to food processor. Also add 1 clove of garlic, squeeze of lemon juice, nutritional yeast and a sprinkle of salt and blend slowly adding warm water until creamy. Scoop out cashew cheese and set aside. Rinse and dry out food processor. Then add handful of cashews and blend until crumbly. Add garlic, basil and sea salt and blend slowly adding olive oil until smooth pesto forms. You ay need to scrape sides of food processor and blend again.
Once everything is ready spread amaranth on a serving plate with a few drizzles of pesto then add roasted eggplant slice, spoonful of pesto, and spoonful of cashew cheese topped with red pepper slice. Enjoy!