Tag Archives: basil

Vegan Basil Pesto Recipe

pesto ingredients

Only my second recipe post since my return from Italy and guess what? Another Italian recipe. I didn’t really plan it like that, but you can’t really say it’s a coincidence. Not that making Italian recipes is something out of the ordinary for me.

(sigh) Italian food. Love it. Do you? What’s your favourite Italian dish?

Classic Italian basil pesto is made with parmesan cheese, but pesto can still be delicious without the cheese. Simply omit it. The combination of fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil and salt is a wonderful one that doesn’t disappoint. Continue reading

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Filed under Blog, Condiments, Gluten-Free, Main Courses, Paleo, Raw, Recipes

Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce with Lentils

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My week in England is coming to an end today. I have had a great time visiting family and perusing the British countryside.  My diet this week has been anything but healthy, but I couldn’t resist dipping into the local fare that I haven’t eaten in years.

I leave early in the morning for my first ever visit to Italy. We will be staying about 30 minutes outside of Rome in a villa.  We will be a huge gang of friends and family out to celebrate my uncle’s 60th birthday.

As you can imagine I am incredibly excited for my visit as I  am a huge fan of Italian food.  All of it.  Whether we eat at the villa or out at a trattoria I am expecting the food to be excellent.

Pasta with tomato sauce is one of the most popular comfort foods in North America, and in many other parts of the world as well. Nevertheless,despite its popularity, it has become one of the most controversial foods in recent years.  The combination of carbs and gluten together seem to be taboo these days.

For those of us who do still dabble in some carbs and gluten, this is my healthy version of pasta with tomato sauce.  Not to worry, still comforting, delicious and hearty.  The lentils make a nice substitute for the traditional bolognese sauce.  Don’t forget the basil, an essential compliment to the tomato and garlic sauce.

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Here is what the spelt looks like when it is cooked.

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You know I love my mason jars. I store my lentils and spelt in mason jars, as well as all my other dry goods. Check out my post on Building a Healthy Pantry  ( if you are curious about what I keep in my pantry) which allows me to be able to whip up a healthy meal at any time.

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Here are a few pictures from my visit in England over the past week.

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Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce with Lentils

2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
700 g jar tomato passata
1/2 cup water, (rinse the passata jar with the water to avoid waste)
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
a few sprigs of fresh basil
optional: one chopped dried chili, or chili pepper flakes to taste

1/2 cup french dupuy lentils, sorted and rinsed

1 cup of spelt or wheat berries, or pasta of choice

Note: Don’t forget to bring some water to a boil for your pasta or whole-grain. If cooking a whole grain such as wheat berries or spelt berries, be sure to get these cooking a bit before because they take 40-60 minutes.

1. Cover the lentils with water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil on medium for 20 minutes or until cooked, but still a bit firm. Be sure not to overcook. Be careful because different lentils can take different lengths of time to cook. Drain and set aside

2. Once the lentils are on, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté for about 5 minutes until onions and carrots have softened.

3. Add the bay leaf, jar of tomato passata, and water. Stir, lay the cover ajar, and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper again if necessary.

4. Add the lentils to the sauce and stir. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs.

5. Tear the fresh basil leaves into the sauce.

6. Serve pasta and sauce in bowls, with  more fresh basil leaves torn into the bowl.

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Appetizer Guaranteed to Please the Party: Tomato Basil Bruschetta

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Undeniably delicious. Scrumptiously satisfying. Tantalizingly tasty. Straight up really good!

A few simple ingredients come together on a crispy piece of bread for a party in your mouth. A party that will keep the guests at your party coming back for more. This is one of the most crowd pleasing appetizers in my repertoire. My smoky black bean dip being another one vying for top spot.

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Bruschetta is simply grilled bread rubbed with olive oil and garlic. Tomato basil is probably the most popular topping here in North America for bruschetta. Another one of my favourite toppings is mashed white beans with garlic and rosemary. So many possibilities!

I wonder what they do in Italy. I will have to investigate when I go there for the first time in a week! That’s right, I am going to Italy! Continue reading

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Make Your Own Hummus; Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil Hummus Recipe & Video

If you love hummus, and have never tried making it at home, now is the time to try. It is incredibly simple, easy, and quick. You can start with a basic hummus recipe or even the recipe I am sharing here with you today which is sun-dried tomato, basil hummus with roasted garlic.

Hummus is a traditional Lebanese appetizer (mezze) that has become very popular here in North America. I am convinced that when I was growing up hummus wasn’t nearly as popular. Why do I think this? Because there are so many more brands and different flavours to choose from in the grocery store today. I think this is great, because hummus is healthy and incredibly delicious. Continue reading

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Filed under Appetizers, Blog, Gluten-Free, Recipes, Videos

Pasta with Pesto, Roasted Tomatoes and Chickpeas Recipe

Now is the time to make pesto.  Head out to your local market and they are selling huge bunches of basil for a few dollars.  Take advantage of this while you can.  It will soon be winter when 2 dollars will only get you a few measly sprigs at the grocery store.

There are still beautiful local cherry tomatoes available at the market as well.

Tomatoes and basil.  A match made in heaven and one last taste of summer. Continue reading

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WheatBerry, Yellow Bean, Zucchini and Pesto Salad Recipe

With the heat of the summer currently at its peak there is nothing better than yummy salads made with fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients to keep us cool.

The culprits here are yellow beans, zucchini and basil.  I happened to pick the basil for the pesto right from my balcony.  I have 8 basil plants.  One thing I have learnt about basil is that I can never have enough.  Love it!  Making pesto takes quite a bit of fresh basil so now is the time to do it.  If you aren’t growing your own you can buy a huge amount at the market for a reasonable price.   Something you could only dream of in winter months. Continue reading

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