Raw Cashew Basil Pesto

Hello, Friends! Yesterday I shared some ideas for a vegan tea party-inspired picnic which included basil pesto tea sandwiches, and I promised to share the pesto recipe. Well, here it is. This pesto has a nice earthy, rustic flavor, and is oil free and perfect for strict fasting days. With only a few ingredients to blend together, you’ll be whipping this up in no time!

Raw Vegan Cashew Basil Pesto | Orthodox and Vegan
Basil pesto is great as a sandwich spread or vegetable dip – I particularly like it with cucumber and mint. It also works well as a pasta sauce. Of course you can use gluten free pasta sauce or spiralized veggies to make the meal gluten free or even completely raw.

Raw Vegan Cashew Basil Pesto | Orthodox and Vegan
Raw Cashew Basil Pesto
1 C raw cashews, soaked & drained
1/2 C fresh basil, or to taste
1 large clove garlic, or to taste
1 tsp course salt, or to taste*

Soak the cashews in water for at least one hour, or overnight. Drain and rinse, discarding soak water.
In a blender, add cashews, basil, garlic, and salt. Add 1/2 C fresh water and blend until smooth, adding more water as needed.
I recommend adding the minimal amount of basil, garlic, and salt and tasting after blending before adding more.

*If you are using a fine/table salt, you may want to start with 1/2 tsp

For Pasta Sauce do Not drain pasta completely. The pesto will be thick, so you’ll want to mix it with a little water to loosen it up for tossing. When I use the pesto for pasta, I like to add a little black pepper and top it with nutritional yeast. And on oil days this would, of course, be wonderful with a little drizzle of olive oil – but what doesn’t benefit from olive oil??

Pro tip: If you have a Ninja blender, this recipe can be made in the individual serving cup. In other words, quick & easy clean up!

Comment below and let me know your favorite way to use pesto. I’d love to hear from you!

What Vegans Eat: Tea Party Picnic

Because people sometimes get the idea it’s hard to be vegan and still have a fun social life, I’d like to occasionally share with you What Vegans Eat at various social events.

My mom got us tickets to the Picnic Pops Music of David Bowie concert for my birthday. The Picnic Pops are held at a ski area during the summer months. You can get general admission tickets and sit out on the hill, or pay extra to get reserved seats at the picnic tables in front of the stage. We got the reserved seats and I LOVE picnics, but then I realized…the concert was August 2. During the Dormition Fast. I’m vegan all year anyway, but strict fasting days for me also means eliminating oil. Could we pull off a vegan & oil free picnic spread?

What Vegans Eat: Tea Party Picnic | Orthodox and Vegan
Yup. Here’s what vegans eat at a tea-less tea party inspired picnic (full disclosure: my mom grabbed the vegan cupcakes from her freezer, they were made for another occasion and probably contained oil. I decided to accept the hospitality, but I do have an awesome oil free cake recipe I’ll share soon!)

What Vegans Eat: Picnic Pops Tea Party | Orthodox and Vegan
I made little tea sandwiches with Italian bread I found at Dollar Tree (yes!! – take & bake bread for $1!) and homemade Cashew Basil Pesto topped with fresh spearmint and cucumber – I’ll post the pesto recipe tomorrow. Mom made raw seed crackers, and we topped half with my Coconut Milk Cheese and half with an experimental lentil spread I’m perfecting. And did you know Rose of Sharon is edible? We didn’t eat those flowers, but we could have. (Orange Trumpet Flowers not edible)

What Vegans Eat: Tea Party Picnic | Orthodox and Vegan
Mom also made this Spinach & Sun Dried Tomato Vegan Quiche, and bruschetta. In the top picture you can see a champagne glass filled with chickpea salad – also made by mom. I cannot give you a recipe but she basically threw in all the wild greens from her garden along with homemade fermented veggies, and mixed it all with a tahini sauce.

Multiple people commented on the beauty and splendor of our picnic spread, and in the end we actually enjoyed it more than the concert. So you see, it is possible to live a normal, happy life, eat good food, have fun, and Be Vegan.

Have an event coming up and unsure what to bring? Comment below!