I never thought of pesto as herbal medicine, but indeed it is.
Pesto has earned a spot in my diet (and my freezer), fairly regularly as a result. I mean, think of it, it’s chock-full of herbs. Herbs are medicine. Pesto = Powerful Herbal Medicine.
The thing about pesto, for me at least, is that I don’t relish the making of it. I have to lug out my food processor and wash lots of herbs (I like to keep them varied for optimal nutrition). The other issue is that sometimes you don’t want a lot of pesto… you want just a little. Well, that’s not a problem when you’re smart and make pesto ahead of time.
When you realize you want (or need) some pesto, it’s great to have it on hand. It requires thawing, but I find that I usually know if I’ll need pesto a day in advance so I put it in the fridge to thaw overnight. I like to make a good sized batch and freeze it in jars of different sizes as shown in the pictures. I especially like these baby food storage jars because the amount frozen is perfect for adding a little of pesto flavor to any dish where you want herbal flare but not a pesto-heavy result.
Pesto (#HerbalMedicine) going into little cups for freezing.
When I go to the farmers’ market, I see what lovely fresh herbs the farmer has, and I buy a lot. I go home and get to making some pesto straight away so I can be done with it. It feels good to have a freezer stocked of different things that can quickly be thawed for food. If you haven’t seen my post on Real Food Fast Food, please check it out. I share lots of ways to make really fast meals that qualify as Real Food (healthy stuff).
Pesto goes wonderfully served over a grass-fed steak, grass-fed burgers (I buy from Alderspring), pasture-raised chicken (I buy from Good Earth Farms), wild-caught salmon (I buy from Vital Choice). It’s also delectable slathered over some fermented organic sourdough bread, drizzled over mochi, dumped on top of gluten-free pasta, and stirred into organic goat cheese for the best goat cheese ever. You can also add a spoonful of it to the next dressing you make. Holy moly, you’ll be licking the bowl and begging for more salad when you do.
See? Many ways to enjoy pesto, when you have it on hand. Don’t forget…
Pesto = Powerful Herbal Medicine.
Pesto is pretty easy to make even if it’s not my favorite thing to do. However, I am not going to give you much of a pesto recipe because it’s so forgiving. You only need fresh herbs and a couple of other ingredients. I list many herbs below and you can use one or a combination of many. I also prefer hemp seeds instead of other nuts because they’re nice and small, soft, and offer some better nutrition than many other nuts.
Place the herbs in a food processor, like this one I have, fitted with the “S” blade, along with sea salt, garlic, hemp seeds, and cheese. Pulse it a bit until it’s nicely chopped. Turn on the food processor and add the olive oil in a steady stream until it’s incorporated. Set some aside to eat, if desired. Transfer the rest into glass storage cups of different sizes to be frozen. Be sure to label them with “Pesto” and the date.
Make quick dressings, sauces, shakes, tonics, and chia pudding with this great little machine. NUTRiBULLET
Creamy Herb Balsamic Vinaigrette
During the summer I find myself eating more salads. They’re fresh, crisp, and help cool me down.
This recipe of Creamy Herb Balsamic Vinaigrette might be my new favorite. I use it not only on salad but also on vegetables, cooked or raw. You’ll see that some of the ingredients don’t have absolute amounts listed. That was my intent. By allowing some free reign in this simple recipe, it allows you to give your own dose of love to it.
I find, lately, that making dressing recipes in my Nutribullet is easier, and kind of more fun. It’s compactness and easy-to-clean-ness draws me in. I wrote an in depth post on my fondness for the Nutribullet here… think: easy salad dressings, sauces, chia pudding, protein shakes, fruit purees, tonics, travel, etc.
Creamy Herb Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/4 cup balsalmic vinegar (be sure to get a high quality one)
Grapefruit-Jicama Salad w Avocado Dressing #Recipe
Summer is one of my favorite times to dive into fresh and bright salads so I can go about my day feeling light. This Grapefruit-Jicama Salad with Creamy Avocado is a delightful experience perfect for just that. Crisp jicama and celery along with juicy grapefruit and creamy avocado. Need I say more?
Making my own fresh organic dressings is the only way I consume salad. And since I like salad, I make a lot of fresh dressings. This is a 2.0 version of one I used to make, and it is one of my family’s favorites.
I think the way for raw vegans and paleo peeps to eat together of the same meals is to keep it to mostly desserts and salads. Those can easily be made both raw vegan and paleo. Enter: 60-Second Raw Ranch Dressing. This is a great ranch dressing that takes just minutes to make.
Note: Once this dressing is refrigerated, it thickens. At this point, it is still thin enough to use on a salad, but you can always water it down if you like. You can also use the thickened version as a luscious, flavorful dip for veggies.
Here’s another delicious recipe to be shared by raw vegans and paleo peeps alike… a salad :)
This Simply Vinaigrette dressing is a staple recipe in our house, because I always have fresh lemons and raw olive oil on hand (high quality raw organic olive oil, of course). It’s perfect for gently cooked vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, or bok choy. Today, I’m showing it off here as a fresh, healthy, and easy salad dressing.
I love salads. But, while I’m all for a traditional salad with organic romaine lettuce, veggies, and raw macadamia nut oil dressing… I’m also a fan of chunky-n-creamy salads. You know the kind… Waldorf Salads and the like. I’m a texture gal. Problem is that those usually require some sort of mayonnaise and to be honest, I’m not really into soy or processed-icky-oil type mayonnaises that you buy in the store. No. I like to make my own mayo-type goodness that’s fresh and healthy.
And, I like to make them quickly.
And, I don’t always want them made from nuts.
I know, seems like I’m picky. Yeah, sometimes I am.
Well. :) I have two awesome vegan mayo recipes that really take no time to make if the goods are on hand. But, in all fairness, although I call them mayo recipes, truthfully, they’re not really mayo recipes. But, they serve to replace the mayo in a mayo-loving-salad. Make sense?
Unique Vegan Mayo Recipe #1
Avocado + Mustard + Lemon = Creamy and tangy goodness that is easy to mash into your salad yielding a mayo-like experience. Here’s what I do. I get a big mixing bowl and put my salad ingredients in it.. usually chopped veggies and non-sweet fruits like carrots, celery, red bell pepper, cucumber, and the like – raw sauerkraut makes for a great addition. Add a diced avocado, a couple big dollops of organic mustard (my favorite here), and a squeeze of fresh citrus such as lemon, lime, and/or orange. Mash/Mix it all up. No nuts needed. No soaking needed. Just easy peasy n dreamy n creamy. (Obviously, season with salt and pepper as desired.)
Unique Vegan Mayo Recipe #2
Sweet Potato + Mustard = Creamy and low fat deliciousness that adds velvety mayo-like texture, vibrant color, and nutrition like it’s no one’s business. The clincher here, however, is having 1-2 cooked sweet potatoes on hand in your fridge already. If you’re like me, this is a common item in your fridge (read more here). Okay, so same drill as above… Get a big bowl out and add your favorite salad veggies and foods. Put 1 to 2 peeled (cooked and cooled) sweet potatoes on top, add a couple dollops of mustard, and smish smash it up. Season as desired. When I made the salad and served it to Greg, he came out of his office exclaiming (unsolicited, I might add), “Wow, this is a 10 out of 10!”
All in all, these two options are great healthy replacements for the next time you need mayo in your salad. They add creaminess, nutrition, and flavor which is really what you’re after. Pro-Tip… (good quality) mustard makes everything better.
I’ve really gotten into the video mood, can you tell? Are you enjoying them? Are they useful? I hope so!
In this video I decide to totally wing it and make a dressing I’ve never made, while doing it on camera. My plan was to post the video no matter what because I figured 1) we’d all learn something anyway (I learn a lot from failed recipes) and 2) it’d be kind of funny if the dressing sucked seeing as I was doing it on camera. I still don’t have the ingredients written down so I can’t add them here to the post yet, but I remember… water, oranges, grape tomatoes, garlic, salt, raw almond butter, basil??? I think those are the ingredients. When I find time, I’ll come back and add the ingredient list.
Spoiler alert...Turns out, it was so good! Easy to throw together as you’ll see… and mega fresh. I loved it on fresh lettuce and I also gobbled it up on cauliflower. If a dressing makes you enjoy raw cauliflower, then you know it’s darn good.
Enjoy the show! (By the way, as you know by now I’m still in a video making mode – I suspect I will be for a long time – so check out my popular Cinnamon Brownies post I wrote a while back because I put up a video showing you how easy they are to make here!)
Here’s a great recipe for the brave hearted. It’s got some mega kickin’ heat and it’s super duper delicious! (If you must, you can tone down the heat by omitting the habanero or using only a bit of it, same goes for the cayenne pepper). This recipe is great for romaine salads, veggie salads, zucchini or kelp pasta, and I recently used it over cabbage for an awesome slaw. I’ll bet it’d be fun dehydrated on kale for spicy kale chips.
You’ll see that I use cashews in the recipe instead of olive oil which my original recipe calls for… not only was I out of olive oil, but thought it’s a great way to share how you can swap them in some recipes. This recipe, and many other super raw salad and dressings, can be found in my book, Easy Raw Vegan Salads & Dressings. Enjoy :) (Updated food journal post below video)
Food Journal 2/26/12 (Mostly Raw)
Spicy Veggie Juice: romaine, parsnip, brussel sprouts, dill, basil, celery, carrots, beet, spicy purple radish sprouts, zucchini, cucumbers, red bell pepper, kale, dandelion root, and habanero pepper! Whew! This bowl made about a gallon of juice with our Norwalk Juicer.
Pint green juice …. 3 cups green smoothie (water, apple, sunflower sprouts) …. Tea
Kale salad …. Sandwich …. Tea
2 brazil nuts …. Raw choc mint pie
Nettles blend tea (this stuff is super great for helping allergies… interesting story... my allergies have been non existent this season so far, but Greg’s and mom’s have been pretty bad. I just counted my lucky stars. However, I had a sandwich as you see above and it had two slices of bread, hummus, and tempeh on it. Although the rest of my diet is still basically raw, that was the first meal I had where something was cooked in it. Guess what? Within an hour my allergies kicked in and I was sneezing. I wonder if the stellar raw diet was keep them at bay? Anyway, nettles tea is great for helping them.)
Update 7/24/13: I’ve made this recipe into a 2.0 version that is paleo friendly.
Here it is! My 4-Ingredient Magic Dressing! I have been dressing my salads with this almost daily for about a month. It’s magical because it’ll make everyone love any salad you put in front of them if it’s dressed with this. My whole family goes crazy over it.
Get ready to really love salad.
4-Ingredient Magic Dressing 2.0 (Raw Vegan Paleo Gluten Free Soy Free) Recipe by Kristen Suzanne of KristensRaw.com
Yield 2/3 cup*
Place the ingredients in a bowl or mug and mash it together with a fork. (Or blend it.)
Now, to make the perfect salad, put all of the salad ingredients in one big bowl. Pour the dressing on top and then toss the salad until the dressing coats it all. I usually use this one recipe to cover a salad that serves two really big portions. The salad we’ve been making the most with this is: romaine lettuce (my favorite), orange, raisins, red bell pepper, cucumber, and sprouts. (Carrot and tomato sometimes make an appearance, too.)
* If you’re making this as a single serving, then stir together 2 tablespoons raw cashew butter with 1 tablespoon coconut vinegar, 2 teaspoons tamari coconut aminos, and 2 tablespoons water.
** I have made this with fresh lime juice, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar – all very delicious, but my favorite is the coconut vinegar. You can also use Coconut Secret’s Coconut Aminos in place of the tamari.
Hi! I'm a chef, author, homeschooling mom, and I love to eat and cook super healthy food. I'm a former vegan, now real-food omnivore, who enjoys coffee(!), dark chocolate, rebounding, and researching the latest tips for optimal living.