Vegan Basil Pesto

My garden is bursting with basil! I don't know about you, but I've only been able to find one type of vegan (cheese free) pesto in the stores - and $6 for tiny jar of pesto just seems absurd. This recipe is the perfect alternative and freezer friendly! Need some inspiration on how to use pesto in your meals? Check the bottom of this post for a list of ideas!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: nutritional yeast

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine the basil, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice and red pepper flakes in a food processor or high powered blender and pulse until the ingredients are finely chopped.
  2. While the machine runs, slowly add  olive oil in a steady stream until it becomes a smooth paste. If the pesto is too thick for your taste, continue to add olive oil until you reach your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

     As you can see from the photo above, I made a huge batch and separated it in little ball canning jars. These will last in the freezer for months, just defrost in the refrigerator before using. 

Looking for some fun new ways to add pesto to your meals? Check out these ideas!

Lasagna Soup Recipe - Gluten & Dairy Free

Since building the new website, I have been brainstorming ideas for using the blog feature, and then it hit me: RECIPES! As a Crohn's fighter, it has been a long winding road finding recipes and products that fit my dietary restrictions (gluten, dairy, beef free) and still taste good. So get ready, here is the first of many recipes to come!

Spring may be just around the corner, but I'm not through with my winter soups! This crockpot recipe is super easy and can be thrown together in 30 minutes or so. It's made with gluten and dairy free ingredients, but can easily appease the cheese lover with some shredded mozzarella added on top! 

I like to think of recipes as guides, so add mushrooms, use beef sausage, or less garlic and don't worry so much about measuring! I personally like to use salt free canned goods, so much healthier! And turkey sausage instead of beef - you save on calories and fat, but don't sacrifice the flavor (trust me! in this recipe it works, normally I wouldn't enjoy turkey as a beef substitute).

Ingredients

  • 1 package Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 2.5 cans water
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp basil
  • heaping 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • salt and pepper
  • gluten free rotini pasta
  • OPTIONAL: mozzarella cheese, for topping

directions

  1. Combine sausage, onions, and carrots in a large skillet over medium-high heat. You can easily squeeze the sausage out of one side of the casing. Cook for about 7 minutes, until the sausage is browned and the vegetables have softened. Be sure to break up any large pieces of the sausage. Stir in minced garlic for the last 30 seconds of cooking.
  2. Meanwhile, mix tomatoes, sauce, spices, and water in crockpot.
  3. Use slotted spoon to scoop the sausage mixture into crockpot, leaving any grease in the pan.
  4. Cover and heat on high for 4-6 hours or low for 8-10 hours.
  5. Cook pasta separately. Drain and add individually to each serving.
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This recipe is a great freezer recipe! Freeze the soup in separate containers and make a fresh batch of pasta when you are ready to eat. If you are not interested in freezing any of the soup you can simply add the pasta to the crockpot for the last 10 minutes of cooking. I just like to keep it separate, because then you get to scoop exactly how many noodles you want and they don't get soggy!