I've been making some delicious sandwiches lately. Sandwiches are one of the more challenging things to make vegetarian, which I am still doing and LOVING, by the way. If you eat meat, you can have a sandwich with just meat and cheese, mayo and mustard, and it is still good. Cut the meat out, not so good. I do a lot of pb&j, with almond butter, which is good, but sometimes you just want a savory sandwich!
Sunday I made some pesto for the family dinner noodle bar. Everyone gave it rave reviews, so they were either just being kind, or it really was good! I liked it, but I'm a sucker for pesto. I found the recipe from Martha, my usual go-to for recipes. She suggested not adding the usual parmesan so that it would freeze better. Then, I substituted walnuts for pine nuts because pine nuts were $20 a fricken pound, which is too rich for my taste, or at least my wallet.
So here's what I did.
1 cup walnuts
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
8 cups (4 oz.) fresh basil
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup olive oil
Turn the oven to 350, spread nuts onto a cookie sheet, and toast about 10 minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Give the pan a little shake halfway through to "stir" them up.
While those roast, start some salt water a-boiling. While that gets hot, prep your basil by rinsing it and pulling off the leaves, stems can go in your compost. (found some at Sunflower Market, a 4 oz. bag for under $5. And that is a TON of basil!) Add basil leaves to the boiling water. Once every leaf has been submerged, transfer everything to a colander to drain. Rinse the basil with cool water. When it has cooled, squeeze out the excess water, like you are wringing out a towel or something. (This boiling process is supposed to help the pesto keep its color when frozen. It also made it easier to fit all the leaves into my tiny food-prep processor.)
Combine the nuts, basil, salt and pepper, and garlic in a food processor, and blend them up. Add a little olive oil at a time, processing until smooth. Taste the pesto, add more salt as needed. Enjoy!
Okay, so I made two recipes of this pesto with the intention of freezing it. We've been eating it on pasta, which is so good, and then yesterday I did a sandwich experiment with it!
I started with two pieces of multigrain bread, slathered some delicious pesto on one side, added some crumbled feta (remember how the pesto has no cheese?), baby romaine, and sliced tomato. I could have died eating this sandwich for lunch! It was SO good!
Today, I didn't have any more tomato, so I replicated yesterday's sandwich with artichoke hearts instead of tomato, and did pesto on both slices of bread. Also, SO good! I am pretty darn proud of my sandwich making skills lately.