Oil-Free Cilantro Lime Pesto

One of the things I hope this blog proves is just because you have a certain dietary restriction/need/preference doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor or some of your favorite things.  There is usually always a way to meet your cravings based on your food needs.  Now, that being said, that doesn’t mean I’m magic and can fix all your dietary woes with a healthy substitution.  Some things just cannot be recreated and more often than not it’s better that we can’t turn all junk food into healthy food.  Who wants to eat a healthy Twinkie anyway?  Or a real one for that matter….

I digress.  Today’s recipe was created because of two things.  1.  While I love fat, it’s super easy to go overboard with it especially when it comes to liquid oil like olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil.  Unless you’re measuring everything out, oil can add up pretty quick.  I started to realize I was buying big jugs of olive oil more and more frequently and running out of them fast.  Which leads me to my second reason… 2. I was out of olive oil and I wanted pesto.Oil-Free Cilantro Lime Pesto | Life Healthfully Lived

I want to stress I don’t think good fats are bad.  In fact, they’re awesome and I try to get them in at every meal.  But too much of a good thing can be bad and when you use an entire 1.5-liter bottle of olive oil in less than a week and a half, you might need to evaluate your food situation.  I’ll still use olive oil to make my spinach pesto, broccoli rabe pesto, and all other delicious things that require olive oil but it’s nice to have an option that is oil-free and just as delicious.

I used this last night on Adam’s fish and he deemed it “pretty tasty”, which is husband speak for good.  It has a nice light flavor from the cilantro and even though there is no oil, it’s still creamy.  You can use any green herb or vegetable you would like, I just happened to have a bunch of cilantro I needed to use so that’s what I went with.  This would also be great on pasta or zoodles or panini’s or chicken/pork or crackers or your finger….

Oil-Free Cilantro Lime PestoOil-Free Cilantro Lime Pesto | Life Healthfully Lived

  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, rinsed and dried and ends trimmed
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • juice of 1 to 2 limes, depending on how lime-y you want it
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp roasted garlic
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast (or freshly grated parmesan if you do cheese)
  1. To toast almonds: Add almonds to a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Shake the pan back and forth every so often and dry toast the almonds until golden brown.  Let them cool while you get everything else together.
  2. Place the rest of the ingredients into a blender or food processor, starting with the garlic, then cilantro, then seasonings, and finally lime juice.  Pulse a few times then add the cooled slivered almonds.
  3. Blend until you have a relatively smooth and creamy sauce.  If it’s a little too thick you can add more lime juice or water 1 tablespoon at a time to thin it out.  Taste and adjust the salt then store in your fridge in an airtight container for about a week. Oil-Free Cilantro Lime Pesto | Life Healthfully Lived

 

DIY Wednesday: Baba Ganoush

Ok, before making this recipe I had never had baba ganoush.  In fact, I didn’t even really know what baba ganoush was and the only reason I thought about it was because of the movie Wedding Crashers.  Yes, the movie with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson.  It’s one of my sister’s and my favorite movies and it’s awesome and if you’ve never seen do it now.

Well, in the movie Owen Wilson’s character affectionately calls Vince Vaughn’s character “Baba Ganoush”.  So the other day I was randomly thinking about the movies and I decided to figure out what baba ganoush meant and when I saw that it was an eggplant and tahini spread I decided I needed to make it for myself.DIY Wednesday: Baba Ganoush | Life Healthfully Lived

Yes, this is how my brain works.

I really love how light and simple this dip is and it’s amazing on chips (particularly pita), cut up vegetables, and while I haven’t tried it yet I bet it would be good spread on fish or chicken.  You could buy baba ganoush at the store but the kind I found had odd ingredients and was way more expensive and why buy it when you can easily make it?DIY Wednesday: Baba Ganoush | Life Healthfully Lived

While this dip won’t replace hummus (hummus love forever yo) it is a new fun dip!

Baba GanoushDIY Wednesday: Baba Ganoush | Life Healthfully Lived

  • 1 medium sized eggplant
  • half a lemon
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, roasted
  • 2 tbsp tahini*
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped or 1 tsp dried parsley
  • roasted sesame seeds for garnish, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 400 and prepare a large baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.
  2. Wash and rinse the eggplant really well and poke it all over with a fork.  Place it on the baking sheet.  Take 4 cloves of peeled garlic and wrap them in a little foil pouch with a little olive oil and salt and place the pouch on the pan with the eggplant.
  3. Roast the eggplant until it’s soft and starting to collapse rotating it halfway through. About 30 to 35 minutes.  Roast the garlic for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. Once the eggplant and garlic are done roasting, let them cool until you can easily handle the eggplant.  Slice in half and scoop out the flesh and place it into the food processor along with the rest of the ingredients, except the sesame seeds.
  5. Process until it’s smooth.  Scoop into a bowl and if you’re serving right away top with toasted sesame seeds and a drizzle of olive oil.

* I also tried this with almond butter and it worked just fine but I like the flavor tahini adds. Use whatever you like and have on hand.DIY Wednesday: Baba Ganoush | Life Healthfully Lived

DIY Wednesday: Herbed Macadamia Butter

HaveDIY Wednesday: Herbed Macadamia Butter | Life Healthfully Lived you ever seen a log of herbed butter?  All cut into pretty round slices and full of delicious herbs like parsley, chives, basil, and oregano?

This is not like that.

Well, it’s sort of like it but not quite.  I had the idea to try and come up with an alternative to those fancy herbed butters that are so delicious.  I haven’t had dairy in years, and I wanted to see if I could make a dairy-free version.

Sure, there are tons of vegan specialty butters that you can buy.  But many times those butters are full of processed ingredients that aren’t any better for me than regular butter.

So I decided to go the route of making a savory nut butter.  First I had to decide which type of nut to use.  Almonds and peanut butter have their own distinct taste and I wanted to use something a bit milder so that you could really taste the herbs.

Cashews are pretty mild, but they can be a little grainy in texture unless you have a high-powered blender.  I settled on macadamia nuts.  They are mild and have a slightly buttery taste to them and come out nice and smooth when blended into butter.DIY Wednesday: Herbed Macadamia Butter | Life Healthfully Lived

I was surprised how quickly this came together and I was pleased with the taste and the spreadability.  The only thing that I couldn’t really change was the color.  Yeah, it’s kind of an icky brown, but sometimes the ugliest concoctions taste the best.  Just trust me on this one.

A few notes about the recipe.  You don’t have to roast the nuts, but it adds a nice depth of flavor to the savory butter.  Raw nuts will give you a lighter, more appealing color.  Don’t worry about the coconut oil giving this butter a coconut-y flavor, it’s just to help the butter set in the fridge and spread nicely on things like bread.

Herbed Macadamia ButterDIY Wednesday: Herbed Macadamia Butter | Life Healthfully Lived

  • 2 cups raw macadamia nuts
  • 2 tsp roasted garlic
  • 2 tsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and spread the macadamia nuts on a large baking sheet in an even layer.
  2. Roast the nuts for 10 minutes and then transfer to a blender or food processor immediately.
  3. Blend the nuts, scraping down the sides as needed, until you have a smooth and drippy butter.  It should be almost liquid like.
  4. Add in the teaspoons of coconut oil and the 1 tsp of salt and blend until combined.
  5. Add in the garlic and the rest of the seasonings and blend until completely combined.  Taste and adjust any seasonings as needed.

This will obviously not act the same way as real butter, as in it won’t melt.  But it does add a nice salty, herby, and fatty quality to whatever you use it on.  And really, who doesn’t like things that are salty, herby, and fatty?DIY Wednesday: Herbed Macadamia Butter | Life Healthfully Lived

Keep this in an airtight container in your fridge and let it warm up a few minutes before you use it so it spreads easily.  And there you have it!  Your own savory spread that you didn’t have to pay top dollar for! Enjoy!

DIY Wednesday: Grainy Mustard

I DIY Wednesday: Grainy Mustardlove mustard.  I put it on everything.  Sandwiches, vegetables, pasta, rolls, spoons… Yes, I have eaten mustard right out of the jar.  I love the spicy bite that it adds and I especially like the texture of a good, grainy mustard. After peanut butter, I would say that mustard is my favorite spread.

Which is why it’s shocking to me that I have never made my own.  I mean, it’s fairly simple.  Mustard seeds, some vinegar, salt, and turmeric is all it takes to make standard mustard.  Once you get that down, you can get fancy and make honey mustard or horseradish mustard or spicy mustard.  You can make it super smooth or keep it nice and grainy.  The possibilities are endless.

Here is the basic mustard recipe.  Once you get this down, you can play with some variations and have an endless supply of mustard.  That sounds like heaven, doesn’t it?

Grainy Mustard 

DIY Wednesday: Grainy Mustard

  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/4 cup brown mustard seeds
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • water, as needed
  1. Add mustard seeds and apple cider vinegar into a small bowl and make sure all of the seeds are submerged.  Let the seeds soak for a day or two.
  2. Add everything into a blender.  Blend until the mustard reaches the consistency you would like.  If you want a smoother, thinner mustard blend for a longer time and add a little water to smooth things out. For a grainier texture, blend for a shorter amount of time and don’t use as much water.
  3. Store in a sealed container in the fridge.

I don’t think that I will buy mustard again after realizing how easy it is to make my own.  Plus, I can make my own specialty mustard for much cheaper.  I’m all about homemade and less expensive!

DIY Wednesday: Grainy Mustard