It is no secret to anyone who has seen my instagram page that I truly have a love affair with pesto (sorry hubby) While I don't hide that I make it often, and from scratch, I definitely don't go into enough detail as to why this is an excellent way to pick your pasta- spoiler alert, it is not just because it is delicious. Pesto has some incredible benefits for your health. It is jammed packed with nutrients, and when you make my creamy pesto sauce you won't only feel like a million bucks, you will taste it too.
Pesto is made with olive oil- which is a form of a monounsaturated fat... these days fat can be a scary or taboo word, but when you ingest the right fat, you are actually helping your body do some essential functions to gain optimum health. Monounsaturated fats help lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar levels, and aid in blood clotting in the event of injury. Now, like most things, it is best consumed in moderation.
I adore basil, and one of the reasons why is it literally goes to work for you, fighting off the bad guys. Okay, let me properly explain myself here. Basil contains flavonoid phytochemicals called orientin and vicenin. These act like antioxidants and travel through your system and neutralize those yucky free radicals that spend their time damaging your healthy cells. The result with these free radicals wandering around in your body can increase chances of cancer, heart disease and other chronic illness.
Garlicky goodness, so much can be said about garlic, and while in pesto it certainly isn't the star it does deserve a shout out. Garlic is incredible for your immune system, really fighting off any yucky bacteria trying to sneak in. Garlic is also great for heart health, it helps stabilize your blood pressure. It is also great at fighting ear aches, coughs and colds, as well as aiding in digestion... and really, who doesn't want a little help there!?
Cashews, while providing that plant based protein we all long for, cashews also boost your immune system, and most importantly promote red blood cell formation. In other words your cashews are helping cure cancer. What more could you ask for from a nut.
Lastly, a little lemon- lemon juice definitely brings some incredible benefits this sour little pucker substance aids in detoxification, pumps up vitamin C levels, rejuvenates skin and promotes healing. As if that wasn't enough, lemon has been proven to be a mood and energy booster. Love that lemon.
Now that I have told you the "why", allow me to share with you the "how"...
Plant Based Personality Creamy Pesto Recipe
You will need:
2-3 oz fresh basil (organic if possible)
1/2 cup roasted and salted cashews
1/4 cup warm-hot water
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 clove of garlic
1 heaping tablespoon of nutritional yeast (so many health benefits- saving those for a big reveal another day)
A couple of sprinkles of Miss Dash- table blend (this is my favorite and you may see it again in the future)
Sea-salt (to taste)
Wash basil, and remove only leaves (discard any stems)
Add all ingredients to food processor
Blend until the pesto is fine
Serve with your favorite pasta...
I prefer brown rice pasta with red and green bell peppers, artichokes, green olives,
mushrooms and of course sliced habanero peppers to taste.