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I love growing fresh herbs at home. They’re tastier and more nutritious than the dried ones I keep
in my pantry, and also more economical when they are home-grown since half of the fresh herbs I buy at
the store go to waste from underuse. Plus, it adds lasting aesthetic value, counterbalancing the
modern, concrete-jungle feel of my apartment.

My Basil Plant

Not only is basil a versatile herb for cooking, it’s also rich in antioxidants and essential oils. Its only downside is that it needs to be watered almost daily (something I have hard time remembering). If you want to grow the plant outdoors, it needs a dry environment and plenty of sun.

One thing I love to do with basil is to make vegan pesto.  Pesto is my favorite way to season food. Basil is common in a lot of Italian and Asian cuisines so I use it in my pasta, bread, even fried rice. Plus, it is a great way to season anything from salads, to fish to veggie burgers.  Food network has a good list of 50 Things to Make with Pesto.

VEGAN PESTO RECIPE:

  • 1 cups fresh basil leaves, rinsed and patted dry
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or shelled walnuts
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil (or until pesto achieves desired consistency)
  • 2 tsp of nutritional yeast (optional, also makes for a thicker consistency)
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

1. Combine and blend the basil, garlic and nuts in a food processor.

2. Slowly add olive oil in streams until the mixture reaches the desired consistency.

3. Turn off the motor, then add nutritional yeast (optional), salt and pepper. Blend the ingredients for another few seconds. Now it’s ready to serve!

-NZ

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