CASHEW PESTO + PIZZA
After a few weeks of quick and easy recipes… I figured it was time to give you one that is a bit more time consuming… but worth every minute. Most of us like pizza… and some of you LOVE it.
Many of us view pizza as on the list of “bad” foods that we indulge in every so often. Now, the fast food version of pizza (served at places like Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Etc) really should be on the “bad” list and is not ideal for putting in your body… but did you know that pizza can actually be good for you?! When you use all real and fresh ingredients, you can create a meal that is full of nutrition and flavor and tailored to fit your tastes buds.
Due to the fact that I am sensitive to most dairy products and often times wheat, I stayed far away from pizza for years knowing it would make me feel terrible. Until…
A while back we had our friends Bobby and Lindsey over for dinner. Lindsey and I have some of the same food sensitivities so we collaborated on the meal. She planned to bring the pesto and I supplied the remaining ingredients for pizza. Little did we know that there had been a huge recall on pine nuts and they were something like $30 a pound! She had the brilliant idea to use cashews instead and it was the best pesto I had ever tasted. With a little tweaking (aka… making and eating it often) I have landed on this recipe. It also tastes great on chicken, fish, pasta, sandwiches and… you fill in the blank.
Using this as a base on pizza really eliminates the need for using much (if any) cheese due to all the flavor and texture it adds. The pesto can also be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge to make the assembling of the meal much faster.
My son Duke LOVES this pizza and knows that pizza night usually means we are going to be having a family movie night.
He asks for pizza every night.
- 1 C raw cashews
- 2 C basil (lightly patted down but not packed)
- ¼ C olive oil + more if needed
- 1-2 garlic cloves (or 1 T minced garlic)
- 1/8 tsp salt + more if needed
- 1/8 tsp pepper (or a few dashes)
Combine all ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender. You may need to add a bit more olive oil if the mixture is too thick or not blending well. Give it a taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- If you need to go gluten free: we use the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust and it can be found at most grocery stores for about $3.50, including Winco. Follow the instructions on the package to make.
- If not: Trader Joes’s also carries fresh, whole-wheat dough in the refrigerated section for about $2… or you can make your own!
TOPPINGS: as much as you want of the following:
- Thinly sliced bell peppers
- Thinly sliced tomatoes
- A dash of salt and pepper
- Spicy ground chicken sausage (the best is from Whole Foods or New Seasons and you only need ¼ - ½ lb to adds tons of flavor. If you don’t like spicy, they also have mild.)
- Cheese: Feta, Mozzarella or Goat cheese all taste great. You really don’t need more then a light dusting of cheese.
- Red pepper flakes
Spread pesto evenly over crust. Depending on the size of your crust and how thick you want the pesto, you may have a bit left over.
Layer toppings and bake at 415F for about 15 – 20 minutes