Chunky Vegan Pesto

Something you can probably guess about living in a city like London, is that it’s ridiculously expensive.  Rent is expensive, transport is expensive, and regular every day items are expensive.  I have always been very good at budgeting, and saving money, but now I’ve got to go at with even more diligence than ever before.  I’ve already found a part time job bartending, so that will help.  (Even though my first shift was awful and I really don’t want to go back tomorrow but I have to.)  And I’m putting myself on a strict no shopping system (except for every once in awhile when I find something on sale).  Another thing I’m aiming for is zero food waste.  This was something I was less than perfect at in The States.  Classic Liz to buy some obscure ingredients and only use them once or twice before they went bad.

So far so good, and out of it has come this incredibly tasty pesto dish!  I call this a “Chunky Pesto.”  The reason it’s chunky is that I don’t have a blender or a food processor in London, and I really can’t be asked to mash this stuff together until it’s a sauce.  (Not even sure that would work, really)  I was skeptical at first, but it turned out really tasty!  Like I would go out of my way to make it again tasty!  Plus if you use all the leftover veggies you have in the fridge like I did, it’s inexpensive and a great way to use up food before it goes bad.  (Obviously if you want to blend it up like a traditional pesto go for it!)

Another awesome thing about this dish, it’s vegan!  No dairy, no eggs, no meat, all the veggies!  Often pasta dishes can leave you feeling weighed down and tired, but this one is jam packed with veggie vitamins and makes your tummy happy.  Zucchini contains Vitamin A, Thiamin,Niacin, and it’s a pretty good source of protein as far as veggies go.  Tomatoes are going to give you a boost of Vitamin C and K, and are a very good source of potassium.  We’ve also got your B Vitamins covered with mushrooms!  No added sugars in the sauce either, so load it up!

For the Pesto
1/3-1/2 C Basil Leaves
2 Handfuls of Kale, tough bits removed
1/4 C Pine Nuts
3 Cloves of Garlic
Juice from 1 Lemon
2 Tbsp Olive Oil, more if too dry
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Zucchini
1 Heaping Cup of Cherry Tomatoes
8oz Mushrooms
Enough Spaghetti for Four Servings

Bring a pot of water to boil with a little salt and oil, and cook pasta according to instructions on package.

Finely chop the basil, kale, pine nuts, and garlic, and combine in a bowl with the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper.  The finer you chop the ingredients the more sauce-like the pesto will be.

In a skillet over medium heat, sauté the zucchini, tomatoes, and mushrooms until cooked through.  Add the pesto and toss to coat, cooking 1-2 minutes.  Adjust any seasonings, and serve over spaghetti.




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