Amazing Cilantro-Pumpkin Seed Pesto & White Bean Salad

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Cilantro-Pumpkin Seed Pesto & White Bean Salad

Hello warm weather! I have a love/hate relationship with you. But am really so grateful for the warmer months and the bounty they bring into our lives! I tend to dislike being overheated and sweating a lot (I’m a Pitta type) and get all “hot and bothered” as I say…but someone told me that’s a naughty phrase to use in this context. I’m sure some of you can relate!

During these heat waves, I really find myself craving salad – which is quite unusual for me. I mean leafy green things! I love a good, hearty meal salad though, so today I decided to whip up a quick pesto and mix it with some white beans I had pre-cooked in the fridge, waiting for a use. It was the perfect way to make my (beautiful) greens more exciting and filling, not to mention use up that old(er) half bunch of cilantro in the crisper.

Pesto is always the perfect thing to make if you have an unused bunch of herbs beginning to wilt a bit. You can use cilantro, parsley, basil of course, mint, dill, a combo, kale, arugula, garlic scapes, fennel fronds, carrot tops, broccoli + stems…pretty much anything green!

Simply throw a cup of your green of choice in the food processor with a couple cloves of garlic, some nuts/seeds, a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, fresh-ground pepper, and some fresh-grated Parmesan (or nutritional yeast) and you’re all set to dress all kinds of things – quinoa, pasta, couscous, wheat berries, farro, your favourite crusty bread, or in this case beans. YUM!

Here’s the recipe that I created on the fly today, but please feel free to adjust according to what you have on hand. Enjoy.

Cilantro-Pumpkin Seed Pesto & White Bean Salad

Cilantro-Pumpkin Seed Pesto & White Bean Salad

2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
2 small cloves garlic (or one large), roughly chopped
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
juice from one small lime
1 cup (approx.) fresh cilantro
1/3 cup (approx.) extra virgin olive oil

2 cups soaked and cooked white beans (can also use chickpeas)

About 2 cups fresh salad greens

1. Soak your beans the night ahead, and cook the morning you’d like to eat this. Or, use beans you cooked previously. You can of course also use organic canned beans that are well-rinsed, if you’re in a hurry.

2. Throw all the ingredients for the pesto in the food processor, aside from 1/2 the olive oil. Chop/pulse until desired consistency is reached, adding more olive oil as necessary. (it should be quite smooth and sauce-like, with still a bit of texture.

3. Toss pesto with the beans in a medium bowl. Serve over a bed of fresh greens and enjoy!

Note: you can also set aside some of the pesto to use on sandwiches, as a dip, on pasta, etc. Store in a sealed glass jar or container in the fridge for up to 1 week or so.

Makes 2 servings.

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