Vegan Basil Pesto

For any good  that you buy, it's a good idea to know of at least one way to use up a bunch of it.  A lot of recipes only need a little of an ingredient (buttermilk, cheese, basil) and you're left with the rest sitting in the fridge. Unless you're going to make several repeats in the same week of that one recipe, you'd be well served to use up the rest in a bulk-type recipe.  For me this week, that's basil!

I was inspired by this "frugal" recipe using sunflower seeds, which reminded me of the vegan taco "nut meat" topping that is so delicious over kale salad. I was also inspired by this skinny recipe, where the nuts are omitted and oil is reduced. Wanting something cheap and vegan, I mixed it up into this version with sunflower seeds and no cheese.  I bet you could try this with other savory herbs like parsley, maybe cilantro, thai basil...

Eat the pesto as is or store in the fridge or in the freezer.  We like pesto on open face broiled cheese sandwiches, veggies or zucchini noodles.

When done up in tiny glass jars it would make a beautiful (although not shelf stable) gift/hostess gift during the summer entertaining/picnic season.

Pulse in food processor until the seeds are finely ground:
1/4 C sunflower seeds1 clove garlic
1/2 to 1 tsp lemon juice (to taste)
pinch sea salt
pinch black pepper

Now add and pulse to chop (but not totally obliterate):
1 C basil leaves
1 TB good olive oil (I'm currently in love with the Costco Toscano 2012 oil)

Scoop into container and cover with a thin layer of good olive oil.

I like to use small glass canning jars for freezing large quantities or to keep in the fridge for serving/cooking.  This time I spooned the pesto into ice cube trays to freeze. Then when frozen, pop them out and store in a ziplock bag in the freezer-- when you need a little bit of pesto you can grab just one ice cube!

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