Monday, June 2, 2008

Cannellini Pesto

Beans get a bad reputation for vegetarians and vegans, ridiculed as a boring - yet convenient - way to get protein. Well, I beg to differ! There need not be anything boring about beans if you consistently find new and interesting ways to prepare them. This is the first of a few bean spreads, dips etc. that I hope to feature this month. Try this one either as a dip for fresh crudites - celery sticks, crisp green beans - or as a filling for tortilla roll-ups, or as a stand-in to hummus in pita bread.

In a food processor, combine one 15-oz can cannellini beans, (rinsed and drained), 1/2 cup basil leaves, one tablespoon grated 'Parmesan' cheese, one tablespoon water, 1/2 tsp. olive oil, a dash of salt and one crushed garlic clove.

As to the Parmesan: try the vegan Parmesan flavor grated topping from Galaxy Foods ( As to the garlic clove, this was the first time I wound up the courage to crush one the way they do on the Food Channel. Press down on a peeled garlic clove with the flat side of a chef's knife, using your palm to press. The idea of doing so has always kind of scared me in the past, but I found it remarkably easy!

Anyway, process it all in your food processor until smooth. Add in one and a half teaspoons pine nuts, and process until smooth again.

You'll have 3/4 cup of the "pesto", but you can easily double the recipe! 1/4 cup has 120 calories. Perhaps the best thing about this recipe though? You don't need to turn an oven or stovetop burner on once. I don't know about where you are, but its 80 degrees in NYC tonight...

cannellini beans, canned $0.79
basil $2.99
grated 'Parmesan' $3.50

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance