Last week, Toby and I happened upon a huge bag of basil at the farmers market for two dollars. It's the end of the season for a lot of things, so don't be surprised if huge bags of produce (for really cheap) start popping up at your market, too.
So, what is one to do with such a large bag of basil? Go home and make a ton of pesto, of course.
I'm sort of the pesto queen. I've been making it for years, and it's become one of my family's favorite dishes I prepare. I have lots of different variations--one of them being this sunflower seed and basil. It's dairy-free, vegan, protein-packed...pretty much perfect. Not surprisingly, Andreas acquired a taste for it, just like his mama. Loves the stuff! & I always love to watch him gobble up a huge bowl of it with the biggest smile on my face, knowing all the good stuff he just devoured. What's so good about it? Well, basil possesses natural anti-bacterial & anti-inflammatory properties. As does garlic. Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E, magnesium and selenium. They're also naturally detoxifying.
If you don't have sunflower seeds or basil on hand, spinach and just about any nut will do. I've used walnuts, almonds and pecans--all of them work.
2 cups basil leaves
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds, soaked and drained
2 small cloves garlic (or 1 large)
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Begin by placing the basil, sunflower seeds and garlic in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Process until coarsely ground. Add the lemon juice and sea salt. Pulse a few times, then slowly stream in the olive oil. Process for a minute or so, making sure that everything is well incorporated. Taste it --you may need to add a little more salt according to your taste.
Mix with pasta, put it on your favorite protein or even stir it into brown rice (Andreas loves it this way).
Transfer leftovers to a jar and keep in the fridge for a couple of days.
makes about 1 1/2 cups.
for babies 12 months and older