A few weeks ago, I had this pesto at Souen, and I loved it. I was craving pesto even more so afterwards. The restaurant doesn’t use any dairy, but I didn’t give it a second though at that time. It wasn’t until afterwards that I would need to find a pesto recipe that didn’t have cheese in it. I did see a few sites that used different types of nuts as well as a 1:1 ratio of nutritional yeast instead of cheese, but most recipes used pine nuts…something I usually didn’t have on hand, and something I didn’t want to buy just for pesto.
I saw Branny’s recipe for vegan pesto, and knew it was the one I had to try. It tasted a lot like the one I had at the restaurant, except a little saltier. I think it was because I didn’t use quite as much basil as the recipe called for…more like 2.5 cups, but the consistency, taste, and texture was all there!
Then I first showed Gary the picture from the restaurant, he thought pesto looked kind of gross, but once he tried it, he thought it was great too!
Chicken Pesto Pasta
2 in bone leg quarters (or any cooked chicken part will work)
8 oz pasta (I used linguini)
for the pesto: recipe adapted from Branny Boils Over, originally form Vegan with a Vengeance
1/4 cup toasted nuts (pecans, walnuts, or pine nuts) I used walnuts3 cups packed basil leaves
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp coarse salt
1/4-1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (or substitute grated parmesan or Romano cheese)
2 tsp lemon juice (about half a lemon)
Trim fat and remove skin from chicken. Separate leg and thigh parts. You should have 4 pieces now. Pat dry with paper towels. Rub salt liberally onto chicken pieces. Steam for 20-30 minutes or until fully cooked through. (You can also bake or grill or whatever.)
Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the pesto in a food processor and pulse until desired consistency.
During last 10 minutes of cooking the chicken, boil the pasta.
Let chicken cool for a few minutes. Cut into pieces, save the bones for stock or soup.
Drain pasta, drizzle a little olive oil to coat the pasta. Add in chicken and pesto, toss to coat evenly.
Serve and enjoy!