I usually like to add a 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese to a homemade pesto. In this recipe, however, I substituted half of the cheese with a protein-rich nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is extremely popular among meatless eaters for its nutritional profile (rich in B vitamins, including B-12) and cheese-like taste. I’m always looking for ways to dial up the nutritional profile of the foods I feed to my two year old son, and this is a clever way I’ve found to do it. However, the recipe will work beautifully with or without it. Just make sure and add a full 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese if you are leaving out the yeast.
Serving Size: 1 cup
2 cups parsley, leaves and stems, packed
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated, if possible)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (I like the Bob’s Red Mill Brand)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + some to drizzle
1 scallion, trimmed, roughly chopped
Sea salt, pepper
Learn more about the better-for-you ingredients in this recipe:
Parsley – Parsley is rich in chlorophyll which helps to alkalize the body, purify blood, and form new red blood cells. In addition, parsley is rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, beta carotene, and iron, plus folate, an important B vitamin that may reduce the risk of birth defects.
Nutritional yeast – Nutritional yeast has a light cheesy taste and it is rich in all amino acids to form a complete protein. It is also a great source of most B complex vitamins which have been linked to heart health and help keep you energized.
Place parsley, walnuts, nutritional yeast, scallions and olive oil into a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add Parmesan cheese and pulse until just combined. Season with salt and pepper.
Enjoy the pesto immediately. Or if you prefer, make extra and store it in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin layer of olive oil on top.