A perfect every time, nutrient dense, dairy free pesto made with creamy hemp seeds and packed full of basil. Serve it with a colourful vegetable platter, and you’ve got yourself a fun way to increase your daily vege intake!
I think I may have warned you last week that I would be going on a vegetable rampage, but if not, let me start with this: we do not eat enough vegetables, which means we do not get enough fibre, vitamins, minerals (particularly minerals!), and phytochemicals, which means our health is suffering. This was a message playing loud and clear at a training I went to last week, and whilst government guidelines are currently at ‘5+ a day’ – I believe this to be truly inadequate, and, think we need to aiming for double that amount (in fact, this is what the literature is saying now too).
Remember, 1 serving is equal to 1 cup of salad greens or half a cup of cooked vegetables.
Cue today’s recipe.
If we are to be jamming in 10 luscious servings of fruit and (mostly) vegetables daily, we’re going to need to make our snacks count, like really count. Move over peanut butter on toast, we’ve got a Greenilicious Basil Pesto with a nutrient-dense Vegetable Platter on the menu.
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It takes minutes to whip up the pesto, and about 15 to prep the vegetables for the platter (some of which can be made the day/night before and stored in an airtight container). It is worth the small investment in time, as you’ll be devouring a good 1-2 cups or so (that’s 2-4 servings!) of vege without even trying.
Let’s break it down.
Greenilicious Hemp Seed Basil Pesto
This is a perfect every time, dairy free number that uses a full two cups of tightly packed basil, olive oil, hemp seeds (also known as hemp hearts), garlic, lemon juice, sea salt and nutritional yeast.
You’ll get fibre, minerals (particularly manganese, courtesy of the basil), B-group vitamins (synthetically added to the nutritional yeast, but still), heart-healthy fats and all the wonderful antimicrobial properties garlic brings.
The hemp seeds have a lovely creamy-nutty-slightly-sweet flavour profile, are a great source of plant protein, and contain a perfect balance of the essential fatty acids – omegas 3, 6 and 9. Granted, they’re a little harder to come by, but so worth the treasure hunt!
Finally, here in New Zealand, the wonderful hemp seed is yet to be legalised for human consumption. It truly beats me how such a nutritious food has up until this point in time been relegated to mere pet food, whilst the likes of soft drinks still remain on the shelves. I'm thankful however the laws are changing soon, and we'll be able to purchase them freely for ourselves!
To this point - for those who can't find hemp seeds readily, you can very easily sub them out for a 50/50 blend of raw cashews and pine nuts.
When vegetables are prepped nicely and look colourful and appetising on a platter, they’re so much easier to enjoy, are they not? You’re only limited to your imagination here, but here’s what I went for:
- Fresh, crunchy peas in their pods
- Cherry tomatoes
- Baby carrots
- Kale chips
- Roasted broccolini
- Roasted baby peppers
Kale chips are probably my most favourite addition, because it’s so easy to scoff a good amount. You simply wash your kale, tear off the leaves, use a salad spinner to spin it dry, then toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, chilli flakes and a sprinkle of sea salt. Bake at 170˚ C for 10-15 minutes, tossing them regularly to avoid burning. Whilst you could make these the night before, they are much nicer hot out of the oven.
The roasted broccolini and peppers of course can be prepped in advance. And if you’d like to get fancy, some Sicilian green olives wouldn’t go amiss.
I’ve made different versions of this platter multiple times and it has always been devoured and enjoyed by all. It makes me happy to have some much colour on my plate!
Enjoy friends, and here’s to good health.
More yummy plant-powered dips to enjoy
- Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip
- Radical Roasted Beet Hummus with Sumac and Lime
- Chargrilled Capsicum Hummus with Cashew + Miso
- Chocolate Hummus
Greenilicious Hemp Seed Basil Pesto + Vegetable Platter
HEMP SEED BASIL PESTO:
- 2 cups fresh basil very tightly packed
- 4 tablespoons + a scant teaspoon quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup hemp seeds/hemp hearts OR 2 tablespoons raw cashews + 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast/savoury yeast flakes
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- Handful of fresh peas in their pods
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes
- 2 red radish sliced thin on a mandolin
- Large handful of baby carrots
- Large handful of broccolini
- 6-8 baby peppers
- ½ large avocado
- 150 g fresh kale
- Olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Chilli flakes
- Coarse sea salt
- Sesame seeds
HEMP SEED BASIL PESTO:
- Add all ingredients to a food processor and blitz till well combined and still a little chunky.
- Arrange fresh peas, cherry tomatoes, radish and baby carrots on a platter. To make the kale chips, wash and spin the leaves dry, then toss with a drizzle of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, chilli flakes and sea salt. Spread onto a baking tray and bake at 170˚C for 15 minutes, tossing intermittedly to avoid burning.
- Once kale chips have cooked, remove and add the broccolini and baby peppers, drizzle with olive oil, and bake at a slightly higher temperature (180-200˚C). The broccolini will only need five minutes, the peppers a further 5-10.
- To serve the avocado, sprinkle sesame seeds on a plate and press avocado face down to coat.
- Arrange all on a platter and enjoy!
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