Billie F’s Soybean Pesto Recipe

This is a recipe I developed because I love pesto and like the taste of pine nuts, but don’t like all the fat typically in pesto recipes. (Even though it’s mostly “good fat,” it’s still a lot of fat…!) The varied amounts of olive oil and parmesan cheese below are to taste; use the smaller amounts if you are trying to cut down on fats. Buy dried soybeans (available at most natural foods stores and co-ops) and soak and cook them like any dried beans; they will be firm (but just short of crunchy) when done. I like a little texture in my pesto, but if you prefer a very smooth pesto, omit the step of removing the 2-3 tablespoons of soybeans and just process it all together.

1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup cooked soybeans (from dried)
1 tbsp. pine nuts
2 to 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (to taste)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Place soybeans in food processor and process until finely chopped, but not pureed. Remove 2-3 tablespoons and set aside. Add basil, pine nuts, and garlic in small food processor and process until finely chopped. Add olive oil gradually, processing in between each addition, until it is a paste. Add parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper and blend. Stir in the rest of the soybeans. If it’s too thick, add a tablespoon or two of hot water.

USES: Mix with hot, freshly cooked pasta; mix with cooked vegetables; use as a spread on chicken or turkey sandwiches; mix with cooked whipped potatoes.

Stores well for about a week in the refrigerator.

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