I have to confess – I love a great dip. And who doesn’t? They’re the accessories of the snacking world, taking an otherwise boring crudité to an out-of-this-world snack. It’s even better when a dip can also stand in as a sauce or dressing.
Power Pesto to the rescue!
I’ll admit that I can get a little lazy when it comes to serving up greatness after a long day at work. Thankfully this simple recipe comes together in a flash. Healthy, quick meal accessorizing will save the day and your taste buds won’t be the wiser.
I like to make a big batch of this versatile little sauce and use it all week long: Straight up as a dip or pizza sauce or thinned out with a little oil, water and/or lemon juice to make a quick sauce or salad dressing. This pesto is amazing as a dip for crunchy veggies or crackers and takes roasted veggies to whole new level.
Versatility isn’t the only reason I call this Power Pesto. This striking green beauty also contains a trifecta of cleansing, nourishing herbs:
- Cilantro: Rich in vitamin K—critical for calcium absorption and good bone health—and a good source of vitamins C and A. Scientists have isolated 8 antibiotic compounds in cilantro, one of which was shown to be twice as effective as a commonly used drug to kill Salmonella. 
- Parsley: Rich in antioxidants apigenin—which boosts the effectiveness of other antioxidants—and lutein—which helps prevent macular degeneration. Parsley is also rich in vitamins C, A, B vitamins, calcium and iron. Traditionally parsley has been used to cleanse the kidneys and bladder.
- Basil: Valued for its youth-promoting properties and as a remedy for digestive disorders, skin issues and infections in Ayurvedic medicine. Studies have recently shown that the phytonutrients in basil also neutralize free radicals that could otherwise corrode arteries, damage DNA and potentially trigger cancer.
This is food as medicine at its best, my friends.
Improving on Tradition
Traditional pesto is made with basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and cheese. But you don’t need cheese or pine nuts (or basil for that matter) to make a good pesto. As a matter of fact, you can make this recipe with just cilantro or parsley or whatever combination of herbs that you like. Oregano is also a nice addition. Walnuts, almonds or even sunflower or pumpkin seeds could stand in for the cashews. Play around and make your own Power Pesto!
Share your creation in the comments below – I’d love to hear about your creations.
Use as a dip or as a pizza sauce. Can also be thinned with olive oil, lemon juice and/or water as a dressing for roasted vegetables, pasta or raw salads. You can use one or any combination of parsley, cilantro and basil according to your tastes (oregano is also good).
- ½ bunch each (stems and leaves included) flat-leaf parsley, cilantro and basil
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ cup raw cashews
- ¾ cup olive oil
- juice of one lemon
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- cracked black pepper
- Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until the herbs are finely chopped. Scrape down the sides and process until completely smooth.
- Taste and add more lemon, salt or pepper to taste.
- Serve with crunchy veggies or crackers. Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container.
 The Worlds Healthiest Foods. Cilantro and Coriander. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=70
 Aggarwal, Bharat B. and Yost, Deborah. Healing Spices. New York: Sterling Publishing, 2011, p.187, Print.
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