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My Clean, Green, Light Pesto Recipe

About a month ago I made homemade pesto for the first time and really haven't stopped thinking about it since. The other day my boyfriend and I made homemade pizza and used storebought pesto, and I immediately regretted not having remade my homemade pesto. I mean, there's just nothing better. This recipe is simple, a little lighter than "regular" pesto, and made with purely clean ingredients! It is loosely based off of Kenzie Burke's pesto recipe.

This pesto adventure all started when Celia and I wanted to make TJ's cauliflower gnocchi for dinner last month. We had lemons, garlic, arugula/spinach in our fridge (typical), but we also had a container of basil, which was unusual but exciting! I keep hemp hearts in my pantry always because they're amazing in oatmeal, on smoothies, yogurt bowls, etc., and immediately realized that meant we had basically everything we needed to give homemade pesto a shot! We started adding random things to a blender and after a few handfuls of this and that, we ended up with the best pesto I've ever had in my life.

My favorite part about this pesto is how light it feels... lots of lemon juice and greens keep it tangy and light in comparison to storebought pestos that usually use too much oil, and occasionally cheese. We wanted great flavor, and achieved that, without feeling like we were drenching our pasta in a heavy sauce!

I also liked that we used hemp hearts instead of walnuts or pine nuts because it gives a really nutty flavor but feels a little lighter. Also, they have a lot of health benefits that you can read about here... and I'm just obsessed with them (as mentioned above). This is the pack I have!

all measurements are approximate!

2 handfuls arugula
1 handful baby spinach (optional)
2 handfuls basil
1-2 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1/2 - 1 whole lemon (depending on preference)
3-4 tbsp hemp hearts

salt, pepper, red pepper flake + minced garlic to taste

Simply add everything to a blender or food processor (if you have) and add more lemon juice, olive oil, or greens to adjust the consistency/flavor. You really can't mess it up! I would suggest starting small and then adding as you go... 

Note: we really only added the spinach because we had it available and wanted to add more greens. So, if you don't have it on hand, I wouldn't worry about it. The arugula, however, has that naturally peppery flavor, so I think that is pretty essential to the overall punchy, tangy taste!

You can add this to greens as a salad dressing, to pasta as a sauce (like we did!), drizzle over avocado toast, or just use as a dip with pita chips, crackers, or veggies. We ended up having so much pesto that we used it the first night on our pasta and then the next day we used it as a dressing for lunch when we made bowls with chickpeas, scrambled eggs, and sauteed spinach + mushrooms. It couldn't have been more delish!

Have you made any fun new-to-you recipes this summer?

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