DIY Food: Spring Basil-Artichoke Pesto

May 22, 2014

spring basil artichoke pesto - drifter and the gypsy blog
spring basil artichoke pesto - drifter and the gypsy blog

Growing up, we had a huge, fragrant basil plant in our side garden. Every summer I’d relish at the chance to go out and help my mom pick basil to make a batch of her famous pesto. We would add it to pasta, spread it on pizza crust, even eat it straight out of the container it was so good! Needless to say, I’ve never lost the taste for the stuff and pesto will always hold a place in my culinary heart, hence this recipe!

spring basil artichoke pesto - drifter and the gypsy blog

This specific recipe was in fact inspired by my sister. When I went to visit her with my mom in April, she offered to make an artichoke pesto with pasta and vegetables for dinner. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, but it sounded pretty awesome to me. And it was. Totally delicious! So I decided to try making my own version, sans the cheese and oil!! Can you imagine? But, it turned out really well, very creamy and flavorful even without dairy!

Feel free to use this pesto recipe as a jumping off point. Try it on a piece of toast with vegetables, on a pizza, as a dip for veggies. OR, try this pasta dish! I encourage you to use seasonal and local vegetables from your area for this recipe. Switch things up by steaming some vegetables, using some raw, and roasting others. For the dish I photographed, I steamed the crowns of broccoli and cauliflower, chopped up their raw stems to add, used some raw arugula, and roasted some cherry tomatoes for that classic Italian flavor. Try out any variation you’d like! Have fun and enjoy.

spring basil artichoke pesto - drifter and the gypsy blog

Spring Basil-Artichoke Pesto

Makes 1 cup pesto (8-10 servings)

– 1 (8 oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained
– Juice of 1 lemon
– 2/3 c. raw walnuts
– 1/2 c. basil, packed firmly
– 3 garlic cloves
– 1/2 tsp. salt
– 1/8 tsp. pepper

Combine the artichoke hearts, lemon juice, and walnuts in a food processor and purée. Add the packed basil leaves, garlic cloves, salt, and pepper and puree again until smooth. Taste and add more salt, pepper, or lemon based on your preferences. Pesto can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

spring basil artichoke pesto - drifter and the gypsy blog

Pasta/Seasonal Vegetables

Makes 2-4 servings

– 8 oz. gluten-free pasta (I used Quinoa + Brown Rice Fusilli)
– Steamed vegetables (broccoli crowns, cauliflower, green beans, etc.)
– Raw vegetables/greens (thinly cut broccoli spears, arugula, baby spinach, etc.)
– Roasted vegetables (cherry tomatoes, sweet potatoes, asparagus, etc.)
– Raw walnuts, for garnish

Cook the pasta according to package instructions and drain. Spoon 1/2 cup of your pesto into the bottom of a large bowl and top with the warm, drained pasta. Add your prepared variety of seasonal vegetables, then toss to get a good coating of the pesto on everything. Do a taste-test and add more pesto, salt, and/or pepper if you wish. Serve with a small sprinkling of walnuts to garnish. Enjoy!

spring basil artichoke pesto - drifter and the gypsy blog

– Arielle (DIY Food Contributor)

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