Coriander or Basil Pesto

Makes 1¼ cups
(Vegan; no dairy, gluten, cane sugar, legumes, eggs or nightshades).

This spread is as delicious and multi-purpose, as it is therapeutic. Use it as a spread to replace butter, or toss with pasta, dollop over baked potato, mix with steamed vegetables, smear over cooked tofu, fish or chicken.

Research indicates that fresh coriander and garlic are anti-viral, anti-bacterial and particularly assist with the elimination of such toxic heavy metals as mercury, lead and aluminium. The brazils are rich in selenium (lowering cancer and cardiovascular risk factors), the Omega 3s and vitamin E in walnuts are anti-inflammatory, and the pumpkin kernels are significant for their zinc levels, which are growth promoting, infection fighting and detoxifying.

Nuts and seeds are also good sources of protein and fibre, which along with the lemon juice help regulate blood sugar and vitality levels (for further tips see the GOOD HEALTH SOLUTIONS’ report: You Are Just A Few Steps Away From Peak Vitality). Karengo is a local seaweed high in soluble fibre, iodine, calcium and iron. Enjoy both the taste and the good health results.

¼ cup coarsely chopped brazils
¼ cup walnuts (Note: if bitter-tasting they are rancid; discard)
¼ cup pumpkin kernels
1 cup fresh coriander/cilantro, basil or Thai basil
(about 1 supermarket pot plant)
60 ml (¼ cup) lemon juice
1-3 Tbsp karengo fronds or wakame fronds (small pieces, not powder);
or nori (sushi seaweed* sheets) cut into strips;
use smaller amount and adjust to taste
3 medium cloves garlic
½ to 1 tsp sea salt with kelp* to taste
80 ml (5 Tbsp + 1 tsp) extra-virgin olive oil*

In a low oven or heavy-based fry pan, over low to medium heat lightly toast the brazils, walnuts and pumpkin kernels just until fragrant, not brown. Place them in a food processor with the coriander, lemon juice, seaweed, garlic and salt. Process on high speed until finely mixed. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil until well combined. Cover and refrigerate. Keeps well.

Shopping & Preparation Tips*

  • Olive Oil: extra virgin olive oil is achieved by using cold mechanical pressure rather than the high heat and chemical solvents typical to most supermarket oils. These practices damage oils and the people who eat them. For information on which fats to choose for which purpose and why, see my article on the TIPS page: The Fats of Life.
  • Sea salt: is sea water dehydrated by sun. When mixed with seaweed (containing iodine and other minerals low in our soil) it is ideal in terms of flavour (interesting but not too strong) and mineral balance. Try Pacific Harvest or Malcolm Harker brands; both in health and gourmet stores. Ordinary salt is taken from mines or sea and so highly refined over extreme heat that it contains nothing but sodium chloride. All other minerals are stripped away, such as potassium and magnesium which help regulate fluid balance and blood pressure. Bleach as a whitener and chemicals to prevent clumping may be added to table salt.
  • Seaweed: top food source of soluble fibre and many minerals including calcium, iodine, manganese, and plant-based iron. Buy sushi sheets and rip into shreds to add to any moist food such as salad, soup, rice or pasta. Or buy locally harvested NZ karengo fronds or wakame fronds – tiny twists of seaweed available in health stores. Both these types can be used without advance soaking. Kombu and other coarser seaweeds can be soaked, stored if desired, squeezed, chopped and used as is or cooked.

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