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Extreme Vegan Makeover: Basil Walnut Pesto Edition

If a genie suddenly appeared to me and offered me 3 wishes, I would wish for animal liberation, world peace….and a Vitamix. I really want a Vitamix! But since no genie appears no matter how long and hard I rub every lamp and bottle I see, my wish for a Vitamix will have to sit on the shelf for a while (are you reading this, G. and R.?).

We have bought a few blenders but none of them seem to work very well. Granted, we are not buying the really expensive ones, the kind that Bobby Flay whips up sauces and marinades with, but the ones we buy do promise to crush ice and…well…blend stuff. But they don’t. They make a lot of noise and the aroma of burning rubber fills the kitchen.

Frustrated and not wanting to be disappointed by yet another “blender,” I bought a Magic Bullet and I LOVE IT!!! It’s small, economical, portable and it does the job that bigger blenders can’t seem to do. My 17-piece set (there are bigger sets) comes with cups and lids to hold whatever you make, two different blades for blending and grinding and it’s easy to clean. Most importantly, there is no burning rubber smell!

I christened my new Magic Bullet by making pesto. Honestly, I have had an ambivalent relationship with pesto. The first time I had it was as a pasta sauce in some fancy-schmacy restaurant in Tribeca and I absolutely loved it! Since then, I have been disappointed every single time. And of course, now I need my pesto to be Vegan so I decided to make my own.

Instead of pine nuts (which are super expensive), I used walnuts. I tried them toasted and untoasted and Tom and I both like it better untoasted. I also didn’t want it to have the gallon of oil everyone seems to put into it because that makes it way too fattening. And sometimes, if I am low or out of basil, other greens such as spinach or arugala work well too!

We love the pesto on toasted bread topped with roasted red peppers, thinned out as a pasta sauce or as a condiment on top of a delicious veggie burger! The possibilites are endless!

P.S. I still want a Vitamix!

Basil Walnut Pesto


4 cups fresh basil
½ cups walnuts
4 cloves garlic
1 – 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs. Vegan grated parmesan
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil


Put all ingredients into a blender/food processor/Magic Bullet/Vitamix and mix. Add more oil if needed.


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4 Responses to Extreme Vegan Makeover: Basil Walnut Pesto Edition

  1. Rhea Parsons September 27, 2012 at 4:00 am #

    Hi Amelia, this was my first summer making pesto with my own basil that I grew. Hope you enjoyed yours!

  2. Amelia Wallace September 26, 2012 at 7:03 am #

    I just bought a beautiful multi type basil plant from the farmers market today, and I am going to try your recipe for dinner tonight! Can’t wait!!

  3. Rhea Parsons July 25, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    Hi Pipi, how cool that you have walnut trees!!! Thanks for the comment!

  4. Pipi July 25, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    Looks ‘PERFECT’ fresh and vibrant.. I will let you know how mine goes when I make some next. I have two walnut trees, I will use the nuts.. Thanks Rhea.. 😉

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