Thursday, September 29, 2011

Easy-Peasy Lemon-Squeezy Pesto Sauce

Pasta with Easy-Peasy Lemon-Squeezy Pesto Sauce

Lately, I've been making a ton of pasta with pesto sauce.  It's so fast and easy, especially on the nights when we get home from some event and I have little energy for complicated meal prep.  Shortly after running out of the traditional pine-nuts and walnuts a month ago, I stopped using a recipes and began to wing-it with the the one nut I always have stocked in my pantry - cashews.  There was also an abundance of fresh Italian parsley in my little herb garden so that's getting used up.  Paired with the parsley and cashews, fistfuls of my favourite herb cilantro get thrown into the food processor along with some lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper.  That's it.  No measuring, no fuss, just whir everything up together with the olive oil being drizzled in at the end and you have a healthy, delicious sauce for your pasta.   Sometimes, if I have a little more energy I'll saute up an onion, red bell peppers, zucchini and a stray veggie sausage to top it off.  This is my new favourite, no fuss meal.

I'll attempt to give you measurements here but don't worry if it's not exact.  The whole point is to use what you have, especially whatever fresh herbs and nuts you have on hand.  Use the ratios that please your palate and experiment, you can't really go wrong!

Easy-Peasy Lemon-Squeezy Pesto Sauce


1 cup fresh cilantro (a big handful)
1/2 cup Italian (flat-leafed) parsley or fresh basil
1/3 cup raw cashews (or whatever nuts you have on hand like walnuts, pine-nuts, etc.)
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on how lemon-y you like it)
salt to taste
1 or 2 cloves garlic
pepper to taste
1/4 to 1/3 olive oil (or whatever amount gives you the consistency you desire)

Place all ingredients except for the olive oil into a food processor and blend on high until you get fairly small bits.  Scrape down the sides of the processor at least once during this process to incorporate all the ingredients.   While the machine is running pour in the olive oil and process until well blended and an even consistency. Taste for salt and the amount of lemon juice you prefer, it's easy to adjust.  Once your pasta is cooked and drained, pour on the pesto sauce and using tongs or a fork toss the pasta to incorporate the sauce evenly.

As I said above, I like to serve this topped with stir-fried veggies and vegan sausage which I cook at the same time as the pasta.  I love the sweetness of the slightly caramelized onions and peppers paired with the lemony tang of the sauce.

Ingredients ready to whir~!

Easy-Peasy Lemon-Squeezy Pesto Sauce


  1. Lee, This looks unbelievably good! Great photos!! I love pine nuts with pesto but I know I'd love cashews too.

  2. Thanks Lisa, it really is easy and delicious. I've had it several times in the last few weeks while busy working. Really minimal prep!

  3. Looks fabulous Lee!!! I've really been wanting to try some recipes with ground cashews as I know I would love the flavor. My husband is leery of too much cilantro, but perhaps I could sneak some in ;-)


  4. You could really just use whatever combination of herbs you love. I started out using basil and cilantro and when I noticed I needed to use up the parsley in my garden I just started using that. You could do basil and parsley, or basil, parsley and a smaller amount of cilantro. I think the cilantro adds a freshness that's awesome but the point I wanted to make with my post was that it's easy to customize this type of dish to your tastes.

  5. I realized that when I was starting to consider having pesto for breakfast, that I'd crossed a proverbial line somewhere. I've been eating a lot lot lot of it too!

  6. Mmmmm, I could eat this for breakfast. Forget about those proverbial lines! Go for it!