Dairy Free (Vegan) Pesto

Most store-bought pestos contain a world of additives ranging from yoghurt and egg lysozyme to bamboo fibre. None of these are authentic and they definitely do not belong in a good pesto. This pesto recipe contains all the tradition ingredients, basil, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, and instead of parmesan, lemon can be added to make it dairy-free.

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Firstly, toast a cup of pine nuts in a dry pan.

DSC_0027Next, combine all the ingredients, apart from the olive oil in a food processor and blend until the basil leaves are broken up.

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Lastly, slowly pour in 1/2 cup to 2/3 cups of olive oil, depending on your desired acidity. Season with salt, pepper, and possibly and additional squeeze of lemon juice.

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Save the pesto in a mason jar and store it in the fridge for up to a week.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 packed cup basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • 1/2-2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

  1. Toast pine nuts in a dry pan
  2. Combine pine nuts, basil, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor and blend until basil leaves are broken
  3. With the food processor running, pour in olive oil until desired consistency is reached
  4. Season with salt and pepper

 

Fig Jam

Another great spread for on top of your courgette bread is this fig jam. You can make it from fresh figs when they are in season, but if not you can just as easily make this jam from dried figs.  This recipe is quick, simple, and does not require a lot of ingredients!

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Roughly chop up your dried figs (15-20 dried figs will do). Add them to a sauce pan and add 1/2 cup of water, 1/4 cup of honey, juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon, and 1/4 tsp vanilla powder (you can substitute this for 1/2 tsp vanilla extract if you don’t have vanilla powder).

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Bring the contents of the pan to a boil and then turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes. Let the pan cool down to room temperature and then add the contents to a food processor.

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Blend the contents until a smooth jam forms. Taste the jam and adjust by adding more lemon or honey if necessary.

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Store in an old jam jar and keep it in the fridge.

Ingredients:

  • 15-20 dried figs – roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • juice and zest of half a lemon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)

Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Let cool, and then add to food processor and blend until smooth.
  4. Store in the fridge

Nut (and seed) Butter #2

This will be my second nut butter recipe, as I posted a general one about almond and hazelnut butter a while ago. This time, I added a larger variety of nuts including brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, and walnuts, and I also added some sunflower seeds.

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Spread out approximately 350 g of mixed nuts and 190 g of sunflower seeds on a baking sheet and roast the nuts and seeds in the oven for 10-12 minutes at 175 °C. Keep an eye on your nuts to make sure they’re not burning. Roasting the nuts and seeds gives a stronger and deeper flavor to the nutbutter so it is definitely worth it!

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Next, add the roasted nuts and seeds and a bit of salt to a good-quality food processor and blend on the highest setting until the nutbutter is smooth. In my previous nutbutter post, I explain more about the different stages and how I accidentally broke a food processor making nutbutter once.

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As you blend the nuts, they will go through a variety of textures. The image below shows what I like to call the “breadcrumb stage”.

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Keep blending until the oils are released and the nutbutter is smooth.

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Store in a super cute mason or jam jar. Your nutbutter will keep in a cupboard for a very long time!

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Mmmmm, dat nutbutter.

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Ingredients:

  • 350 g mixed nuts (cashew, almond, brazil, walnuts) – roasted
  • Salt (to taste)

 

Method:

  1. Roast nuts in oven at 175 °C for 10-12 minutes.
  2. Add all ingredients to a good-quality food processor.
  3. Blend for 7-10 minutes, or until a smooth nut butter has formed.
  4. Taste, and add more salt if necessary.

Nutbutter, with almonds and hazelnuts

Nut butters are another one of my favorite spreads as a topping on basically everything. Not only do they taste great, they are also incredibly easy to make because all you need is a food processor, nuts, and a pinch of salt. You can make many different varieties of nut butters such as peanut, almond, macadamia, cashew, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed butter or even a combination of different nuts and seeds. This time, I decided to combine almonds and hazelnuts, which has a slightly sweet taste despite not having added any sugar.

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Before you add your chosen nuts to the food processor, you should roast them in an oven as this will add more flavor to your nut butter. I managed to buy a mixture of roasted (but unsalted) almonds and hazel nuts, weighing approximately 380 grams. Now all you need to do is combine the roasted nuts and a pinch of salt in a food processor and blend on the highest setting for 7-10 minutes, depending on the strength of your food processor. In the interest of full disclosure, the last time I made nut butter, I actually managed to destroy my old food processer by overheating it…oops. After an emergency trip to the department store, I left with a Magimix 3200 XL, which has never let me down! So make sure that your food processor is up to the job and definitely do not attempt this in a regular blender.

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During the blending process, your nut “butter” will go through various different stages, so don’t be shocked if it doesn’t look quite right, it just takes time. The first stage, pictured above, is the breadcrumb stage.

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Next, it will look like the mixture is separating and forming two different layers. Again, this is normal; it will take time for the oils in the nuts to be released and become one mixture, so just keep blending.

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At this point, the nut butter will stick to the sides. Just take a spatula and fold it all back into the food processor.

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You’re almost there, keep going! The contents of your food processer is starting to look a lot softer and is nearly a spreadable nut butter. You may notice that your food processer starts to fog up a bit and the butter is getting warm. Again, this is fine and the oils are being released from the nuts and the nut butter is starting to form.

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Look at that smooth nut butter. It is now done, yum! At this point you should taste it and add some more salt –if necessary.

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The amount I made fit exactly in this mason jar and you can store it at room temperature in a cupboard.

 

Ingredients:

  • 380 g (approx.) roasted, unstalted almonds and hazelnuts (or any other nuts)
  • Salt (to taste)

 

Method:

  1. Add all ingredients to a good-quality food processor
  2. Blend for 7-10 minutes, or until a smooth nut butter has formed.
  3. Taste, and add more salt if necessary.

Baba Ganoush

Baba Ganoush (basically hummus, but then using aubergine/eggplant), is one of my all-time favorite dips! For those who don’t know, Baba Ganoush is a Middle-Eastern dip made from grilled aubergines, tahini, garlic, lemon juice and salt. At the moment I’m supporting my mom on the Whole30 diet, which is more or less a Paleo-based diet,  I decided to make this aubergine-based dip instead of hummus, as chickpeas (garbanzo beans) are off-limits.

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Firstly, get yourself some large aubergines. I used three this time, but if they’re particularly small I’ll use 4-6 aubergines. You should then preheat the grill on the hottest setting possible. Cut the aubergines in half lengthwise and place face-down on a baking sheet. Grill for about 10 minutes, until the skin is charred, and then turn over and continue to grill the other side until browned, approximately 5-7 minutes.

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The grilled aubergines should be soft, and once cool enough to handle, scoop the insides into a food processor with a spoon. If any of the purple skin comes off with the aubergine, don’t worry, it doesn’t matter.

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Add the remaining ingredients: 2-3 garlic cloves, 3 tablespoons of tahini (light or dark, or a mixture of both), the juice of one lemon, and some salt (to taste). I used pink Himalaya salt, as I had it lying around the kitchen, but any salt will do. Then use your food processor until the mixture is smooth. I think it is very important to taste everything while you’re making it, just to make sure all the flavors work! So often I realise I’ve forgotten to add one of the ingredients, or haven’t added enough of an ingredient. So by tasting on the go, you make sure that nothing is forgotten and everything tastes great! And if you really like a garlic-y taste, or if you prefer having a stronger tahini flavor, feel free to add more (or less), and alter it to your own taste! Most Baba Ganoush recipes will include the addition of olive oil, but personally I don’t think that it needs any.

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Mmmmm so smooooooth.

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This dip is great with vegetable crudités such as carrot, celery, cucumber and sticks, or with  bell pepper strips, broccoli, cauliflower, fennel, and asparagus spears. Its also great on wraps or on Middle-Eastern style breads! (although I can’t have any right now because of the Whole30 diet).

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Oh yeah, and I’m a bit of a messy cook sometimes….

Ingredients:

  • 3 large aubergines/eggplants (or 4-6 small ones)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 2-3 tbsp tahini (light or dark)
  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • 1 tsp salt

 

Method:

  1. Preheat oven grill at the highest setting
  2. Cut aubergines in half lengthwise and place on baking paper and grill face-down for 10 minutes. Flip aubergines and grill for another 5-7 minutes until browned.
  3. Scoop the insides into a food processor and add garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and salt, and blend until smooth.
  4. Taste for flavor and adjust if necessary!