Spring Asparagus pesto is an easy way to get your superfoods in season. This clean food can be made vegan or blended with other seasonal superfoods such as spinach or spring peas.
This pesto was tested for flavor, freshness (peak-season), minimal ingredients, nutrient density, cost-effectiveness, and under 20 minutes prep-time. This is the recipe for conscious, clean eating. Sustainable eating to be exact.
These local farmer’s market mushrooms were my inspiration to pair with this pesto. You never know what you will find freshly picked straight from the farm. Try sunbathing the mushrooms in the sun for 1/2 hour to soak up vitamin D! This informative post can explain how you can sun dry the mushrooms and store them for winter.
Asparagus really does top the list of spring superfoods. Not only does aspargagus contain high amounts of vitamin K and folate, it is high in anti-inflammitory saponins, flavonoids such as quercetin, and antioxidants including glutathione, which consists of 3 amino acids (glutamic acid, cysteine, and glycine).
Asparagus, like Jerusalem artichoke, contain the unique carbohydrate inulin, also known as a “prebiotic”. It remains undigested until it arrives in the large intestines where good bacteria (like Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli) feed on the inulin. This process is associated with better nutrient absorption, lower risk of allergies, and lower risk of colon cancer.
Minimal ingredients means less food waste
So you simply do not want to eat the same cooked asparagus two nights in a row so they won’t go bad. So why not think of different ways to prepare them? You could simply freeze what you don’t eat. For this recipe, the asparagus is steamed to bring out the flavor in the pesto. But you can also use raw asparagus that has been thawed from the freezer because it will be tender enough to blend in a food processor. Asparagus looses some of it’s bitterness when thawed.
You could use walnuts in this pesto, as walnuts are considered a superfood that are loaded with antioxidants, omega-3’s, and l-arginine that can help with heart disease. The pesto will still taste great with out them.
You can also use parmesan cheese, but alternatives could be miso or nutritional yeast. Miso is fermented soybean paste mixed with brown rice. Fermented foods also aid in digestion. Miso will last for months in the fridge. Try adding it to soups or using it as a base in a home-made salad dressing with olive, grape seed, avocado, or any nut oil. Add in a bit of honey, apple cider vinegar, and even ginger or a few drops of sesame oil.
Many vegans and people with dairy allergies enjoy the health benefits of the cheesy and nutty flavor of nutritional yeast. Try adding it to vegan based soups to give it a rich creamy texture or sprinkle it on popcorn. If you can’t find it at your local health food store a wonderful brand that has B12 plus other vitamins and minerals in it is Red Star Nutritional Yeast found here. Not all brands contain B12 so read the label.
These flexible ingredient combinations can help you decide what is best for your dietary needs, budget, and access to the ingredients.
1 cup chopped, steamed, or thawed asparagus
1 large garlic clove chopped
3/4 cup torn basil
1 tablespoon of miso, or 3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, or 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Dash of water or more olive oil for blending
Salt & pepper to taste
Optional, 1 cup fresh spinach, or 1/2 cup spring peas (may need to add more garlic)
Optional, 1/3 cup walnuts (preferably soaked overnight to aid in nutrient absorption)
Optional, 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Optional, diced apples or pears to sprinkle on top of pesto
Add ingredients in the order that they are listed. The NutriBullet is a highly recommended and reasonably priced blender that can quickly palverize food in seconds and is of good quality especially if you use it frequently like I do. It is simple to assemble and easy to wash unlike more expensive and larger blenders.
You can blend the pesto until smooth or keep it more traditional and pulse it into a coarsely chopped paste. The NutriBullet with free shipping & discount price will make it easy for you to add more nourishing smoothies and sauces in minutes so you can concentrate on fulfilling your purpose-driven goals.
Update, I just researched some smoothies with basil and another with asparagus. Some information revealed that asparagus is too bitter for smoothies, but the thawed version could work. Love to connect clean food ingredients and waste less in the kitchen. Can’t wait to try other greens and fruits to compliment the basil!
I also like this pesto on Trader Joe’s Rice & Quinoa Pasta (gluten free). Or on a sprouted spelt pizza crust. Unprocessed sprouted grains are full of live nutrients and enzymes that are easy for your body to digest. I found this great deal going on right now for sprouted spelt!
This soaked oatmeal recipe can explain the benefits of eating live grains. The less your body has to work to digest food the healthier and less sluggish you will feel. This could mean less toxins and inflammation that can occur from processed food. Happy clean eating!