Tuesday, August 23, 2011

High Protein, Low-Fat Basil Pesto

I have decided that pesto is just one of those things you either love or hate, there's no in between. It's such a gourmet addition to any meal and is so versatile, you can use it in as many way as your imagination can come up with! I happen to love it, but buying it can be fairly expensive (well at the rate I spoon it onto things!) and is always loaded with tons of fat and salt. Both of which I love. Both of which aren't the best for you. Of course...like most other delicious things in life.

picture and pesto recipe adapted from Oh She Glows http://www.ohsheglows.com/

A typical Pesto recipe in made of up lots of basil, pine nuts and lots of olive oil, usually a cup or so. Even though olive oil is a healthy fat, it is still a fat and needs to be eaten in moderation. I adore pesto on anything, so the thought of comsuming that MUCH olive oil in one sitting (yes I can go through a batch in one sitting) kind of scares me. I would have to run for hours to work that all off....and I avoid running at all costs...so I needed to find a better alternative! : p I happened to stumble across an awesome pesto recipe that was not made with oil on one of my favorite blogs, Oh She Glows. It's made with navy or kidney beans instead of oil, which give it a nice creamy consistancy. I revamped the recipe a little to taste a bit more like a traditional pesto recipe, and added a bit of olive oil for flavor and healthy fat. If your basil crop is quickly growing out of control, this is a recipe you need to try!

the fresh ingredients you need

High Protein Basil Pesto

The beans replace the typical cup of oil in this pesto recipe, making it not only low-fat, but high in protein as well. There is a whopping 15 g of protein and 11 g fibre in a cup ! Enjoy this pesto spread on sandwiches, pasta, or even use for a dip for vegetables or chips.

Yield: 1.5 cups (see below for nutritional info)
  • 1 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves (don’t be shy- really pack it in!)
  • 4 garlic cloves (or more to taste)
  • 1 15-oz can navy/white kidney beans (1.5 cups)
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh lemon juice (1/2 lemon) I used 3 tbsp
  • 1/2-3/4 tsp kosher salt ( more or less depending if there is added salt in your canned beans)
  • 2 tbsp cold pressed olive oil (to make it completely oil free leave out of course)
  • fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions: Add garlic clove to processor and process until finely chopped. Now add in the rest of the ingredients to taste and process until smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary.

Nutritional Info: (per 2 tbsp): 41 kcals, 0 grams fat, 3 grams protein, 3 grams fibre, 0 grams sugar, 7 grams carbs.

Now go enjoy this on anything and everything! One of my favorite ways is tossed with pasta and some tomatoes and parmesan cheese or goat cheese. MMMM! Great on burgers (or veggie burgers for me) as well. This makes a fairly decent batch of pesto so I decided to freeze mine in ice cube tray and pop out a few when needed. Perfect for eating fresh, local pesto year round!

Love and green, garlicy goodness to you!


PS. there will be more on the "100 in 100" challenge tomorrow...things to think about, get ready and prepare for an awesome 100 days of awesome outfits! Stay tuned!

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