Making a vegan sun dried tomato pesto has been on the radar for ages. I just never got around to it. But I’ve been exploring some of the vegan restaurants down here in Miami and I’ve gotten oodles of inspiration.
Notably, I had an absolutely amazing dish of sun dried tomato pesto with kelp noodles at Full Bloom and knew that recreating it had to happen stat.
Keepin it Light and Fresh in Miami: Raw Vegan Foods for the Win
Being in the warm, tropical weather has me craving fresh veggies and raw food like woah. It’s legit way easier to eat lighter – and healthier – in a warmer climate. According to Eastern practices like Ayurveda and Chinese nutrition, eating cold, raw foods in a cold climate isn’t actually great for us anyway. But after such a long winter up north, my body was in desperate need for light, fresh, summery food.
Fortunately, Miami delivers that in spades. There are loads of healthy, organic, and gluten-free and vegan-friendly restaurants and cafés around, if you know where to look. And plenty of juice places to be sure. So I’ve been nibbling here and tasting there and have wound up consuming loads of tasty fresh greens and raw vegan treats.
Side note. While I don’t like to label my diet and don’t consider myself to be a vegan, I do tend to eat a dairy-free plant-based diet the majority of the time. Vegan just happens to be the common term for it, so when it comes to my recipes, I go with it. As for pesto, you definitely don’t need cheese! Trust me on this one…
Pass the Vegan Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Please
Something sun dried seems to be rather appropriate for my first recipe post from Miami, considering Miami is known for sunshine. Ironically, I’ve seen very little of it since I moved! The past few weeks have been crazy rainy. Clouds, rain, and thunderstorms have been the norm, with some random yet very welcome bursts of sunshine.
That said, sun or no sun, life in Miami so far has been full of sunshine, smiles, and maybe a little bit of magic. And when the sun does decide to smile down on us, everything seems all the more fresh and vibrant.
How to Make Vegan Sundried Tomato Pesto
I used my recipe for vegan spinach basil pesto as a base to work with, and swapped ingredients and adjusted quantities as needed. I decided to make this a garlic forward pesto, as the sweetness of the tomato blends with the garlic super well, so I would up with a zesty pesto. Feel free to adjust the garlic level to your taste. I also made this a cashew-based pesto, but the traditional pine nut will obviously still work well.
I mixed it up with some kelp noodles as the restaurant did, topped it with a little broccoli and parsley, and ohmygosh it was food heaven. My friend spread it on a slice of bread and asked if I could make it for her like every day. I guess it’s just that good haha!
We can pretend I make magic happen in the kitchen, but reeeaaallly it’s all about putting already delicious ingredients together to make an amalgamation of extra deliciousness.
This will make you a good amount of pesto, so FYI there are a number of ways you can use it. Pesto works super well for a number of dishes, not just pasta.
Pesto Beyond the Pasta
- Pizza sauce. Use it more sparingly than you would tomato sauce as pesto is rich, but it can make for a delicious alternative to traditional tomato sauce on a pizza.
- Toss or Top Vegetables. Pesto works very well as a garnish for an assortment of veggies.
- Salad Dressing Base. Pesto salad dressings can transform a hum-drum plate of greens into a flavor spectacle for your mouth. Thin it further with a bit more oil, vinegar, or even plain old water.
- Pesto dips. Pesto hummus or pesto guacamole anyone!?
Yup my mouth is officially watering – I’m going to have to make all of these happen, asap!
Vegan Sun Dried Tomato Pesto with Kelp Noodles Recipe
Without further ado – here’s the recipe! Pestos cannot be easier – just grab and prep all the ingredients and throw them in a food processor (or good blender). #noexcuses
Here’s the recipe for the pesto, and below I’ll add instructions for the kelp noodles.
Vegan Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Recipe
A delicious twist on a classic pesto with sun dried tomatoes, made dairy-free and vegan-friendly!
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1 cup sun dried tomatoes, equivalent to one 4 oz package
- 1/3 cup raw cashews can sub pine nuts
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 3-4 large garlic cloves adjust garlic to your preference – for a less garlicky pesto, stick with 1-2
- 1/2 juice lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup olive oil can sub avocado oil
- 1/4 cup water add slowly and stop when your pesto has reached the creamy consistency you desire
Wash and prep all of your ingredients.
Add all of the ingredients except for the oil and water to your food processor and process until combined.
Remove the lid, scrape down the sides, and add the olive oil.
Process until it becomes creamy then slowly drizzle in the water until it starts looking deliciously creamy. Pause and scrape down the sides as needed.
Store in the fridge an consumer within 5-7 days, or freeze for up to 6 months.
Vegan Sun Dried Tomato Pesto with Kelp Noodles
Kelp noodles are an amazing low-carb, low cal (with 6 calories per serving… basically none!) alternative to regular pasta. Sure there is a definite difference in consistency and taste, but if you prep the kelp noodles properly, they can be equally satisfying as pasta, without the heaviness!
You can find them at Whole Foods or any online store with specialty food items (aka Amazon or Thrive Market… or just google it lol).
To prep the noodles, remove from the package and drain and rinse. Submerge them a bowl of warm to hot water with the juice of one lemon and a teaspoon of sea salt. Make sure these are thoroughly combined. Let them sit for at least 30 minutes. If the noodles aren’t fully or properly soaked, they will taste crunchy. They should be soft. You may wish to cut them with food prep scissors so they’re not unruly.
When the noodles are softened, simply mix in the pesto and combine thoroughly. Top with desired veggies or fresh herbs, and eat up!