WHITE BEAN PESTO SAUCE
Fresh basil in the summer is a must. Whether you buy yourself a little potted plant or grow it in your garden- it’s easy to have an abundance of this delicious herb this time of year. Pesto is a great way to use up your basil. I like to make a big batch at some point in the season and then freeze it in ice cube trays or little jars to last me throughout the winter months. This recipe is a bit different than your basic pesto recipe, it’s thicker and heartier because of the addition of the white beans. Give it a try, hope you enjoy it!
Serves ~ 6
Nutrition info per serving (sauce only): 137 calories; 9 g fat; 5g fibre; 4g protein
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced (~1 cup)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 cup vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
1 can cannellini beans (14 oz / 298 ml), rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon pine nuts
2 cups basil, packed
1 cup spinach, packed
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Toast pine nuts in fry pan over medium heat for ~5 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
Heat canola oil (or another neutral tasting oil) in a saucepan over medium-high heat and add diced onion and cook until soft and translucent. Add garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Pour in vegetable stock and add bay leaves and beans. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer, cook covered for about minutes.
Add the roasted pine nuts, basil, spinach, olive oil, lemon juice and salt to a food processor. Pulse until it forms a rough pesto sauce. Then, prepare to add the mixture from the saucepan- be careful if it’s still hot. Remove the bay leaves, then add the saucepan mixture to pesto. Pulse until smooth. Store in fridge for 2-3 days or freeze.
Add the pesto sauce to pasta with some sautéed or grilled vegetables (peas or zucchini work great!), use it on homemade pizza, toss it with some lentils or chickpeas, chopped peppers and onions for a cold bean salad or spread it on some grilled chicken or shrimp- the options are endless for pesto!