Herbaceous Hemp Heart Pesto

Spring has sprung…in my basement.  My dad and I have over one hundred vegetable seedlings growing, getting ready to make one huge garden this summer!  I love, love, love gardening and believe that everyone should have at least one plant no matter where you live.  There is such a sense of accomplishment and happiness that comes from growing your own vegetables, from seed to table.  Every time I go downstairs to plant or water I keep thinking about warm weather, bright sunny days, and picking tomatoes and sugar peas off the vine!  But I’m getting ahead of myself. Alas, it is only March and there is a lot of time before I can actually start thinking about getting the plants in the ground.  For now I will have to be content with just watching them grow week by week.

But who says I can’t start reaping the benefits of early gardening?!  I have so many baby herb plants that I was able to pick enough leaves to make this pesto while not stripping any one plant.  (Feel free to get basil and parsley from the store, nothing wrong with that!)  Fresh herbs remind me of spring so I find myself making pesto often this time of the year.  In my mind, I am helping melt the snow and jump starting spring!

This pesto is pretty awesome.  The combination of basil and parsley makes it extra flavorful and toasted hemp hearts add a cheesy flavor when ground with garlic.  Hemp hearts are packed with nutritional wonders; protein, omega-3s, and iron just to name a few.

Use this pesto as a sandwich spread, pasta sauce, veggie dip, or flavor booster and add a bit of spring to your meals 🙂  I recently rediscovered my love of spaghetti squash and have been roasting the squash and tossing it with this pesto, delicious!  However you choose to use this pesto, know you are making a tasty and nutritious choice!

Herbaceous Hemp Heart Pesto
vegan, gluten-free

yield: about 6 ounces

1/2 cup hemp hearts
1 cup basil leaves, loosely packed
1 cup parsley leaves, loosely packed
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsps fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4-1/2 tsp salt, to taste
fresh ground black pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Spread hemp hearts out on a tin foil or parchment paper lined pan.  Bake for 10 minutes, stirring after 5.

2.  Add hemp hearts and minced garlic to the base of a food processor and blend until combined, about 5-7 seconds.

3.  Add the basil, parsley, and lemon juice.  With the processor running, stream in the oil then add the salt and pepper.  Process until desired texture is reached.

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