Fennel Frond Pesto
I have always had a love affair with pesto. In fact, I will choose it over any other kind of sauce 7-days a week. On pizza? Check. With pasta and veggies? Check. As a dip for veggies or crackers? Check. With a spoon? Check.
Traditional pesto is made with basil and Parmesan cheese. Since giving up dairy, I have found that nutritional yeast is a great substitute for the Parmesan. It lends a cheesy flavor without actually having any dairy. It’s also great sprinkled on pasta, or pizza, popcorn or pretty much anywhere you would sprinkle cheese!
As far as the green leafy part of the pesto, if it’s green, I’ve probably tried to make pesto out of it. Basil, spinach, arugula, parsley, kale… I’ve tried it all. This time, since I had fennel fronds lying around from the Tomato Fennel Soup recipe, I decided to use the feathery part of the fronds for pesto. And it was delicious! We know that fennel is packed with Vitamins C & K and also a great source of fiber, so this pesto packs a great nutritional punch. With the nutritional yeast added, you get a boost of B vitamins, including the elusive B12, which is super important for proper functioning of the brain and nervous system.
I’ve also packed this pesto with cashews instead of pine nuts. Pine nuts are awesome, truly, but they can be really expensive. So I often look for other nuts to substitute in my pesto. Walnuts are a great solution, but since I was out of walnuts, cashews came to the rescue! Their flavor is so mild that it doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the ingredients and really allows the fennel fronds to shine through.
As a bonus, cashews are full of heart-healthy fats, that work to keep that all important organ pumping effectively. They are also a great source of magnesium, which is necessary for strong bones. Magnesium and calcium work together in the body to strengthen our bones. Everyone has heard about calcium, but without the proper amounts of magnesium, your body can’t actually process calcium the way we need it to. Migraines, fatigue, and muscle cramps can all be a result of not enough magnesium in the body. (Raw cacao is another great source of magnesium, so be sure to check out the recipe for the Chocolate Banana Dessert Smoothie!)
Now, let’s get back to that pesto. I’m dreaming of this pesto slathered on a piece of crusty bread alongside some hummus. Are you with me? Let’s go!
Fennel Frond Pesto
Fronds of 1 fennel bulb (just the feathery parts)
⅓ c. raw cashews
3 TBSP nutritional yeast
3 TBSP olive oil
½ tsp salt
Blend all ingredients in a food processor for about 1-2 minutes. You may need to add additional olive oil. Enjoy on bread, in pasta, on pizza, or with your favorite vegetables as a dip!