Crossroads Tal Ronnen

Basil grows like a week on my patio herb garden so summertime is pesto-making time in the Slater house. For the freshest flavor and brightest green flavor, make your pesto fresh right before using it – freezing will cause the color to darken. Use this pesto in Grilled Garden Vegetable Lasagna with Puttanesca Sauce.

Excerpted from Crossroads by Tal Ronnen with Scot Jones (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2015. Photographs by Lisa Romerein.

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Vegan Basil Pesto

By BakeandDestroy Published: October 12, 2015

  • Yield: 1 cup

Pesto, among the best-known sauces to come out of Italy, is simple to make, requires no cooking, and has only a few ingredients. Yet it adds the most delicious pop of color and flavor to pastas, soups, and roasted vegetables. When most of us think of pesto, we think of basil and pine nuts, but you can change it up and use other ingredients you have on hand, like arugula and walnuts, or sun-dried tomatoes and almonds. The pesto can be stored covered in the refrigerator for 1 day; freezing is not ideal, because it will change color and make the pesto very dark.



  1. Combine the basil, parsley, nutritional yeast flakes, nuts, garlic, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes in a food processor and pulse until a paste forms, pushing down the basil and parsley as needed. With the motor running, pour in the oil in a steady stream, making sure it directly hits the blade (this is the best way to distribute the oil and emulsify it evenly and quickly). Transfer to a container. If you’re not going to use the pesto immediately, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to keep it from oxidizing.
  2. Note: Nutritional Yeast Flakes Nutritional yeast may not sound like the most appetizing ingredient, but it has a cheesy, nutty, savory quality that gives any dish extra oomph. Just a tablespoon or two adds a creamy, salty richness to dips, soups, and sauces. Look for nutritional yeast flakes in the supplement section of the market or health food store. Be sure to select flakes instead of granules, which will deliver a bit of texture to whatever you add them to.

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