Thursday, January 8, 2015

Pestos--Healing Plus Flavor

Isn't pesto a great food flavor?  It's pretty much a happy detonation in your mouth. I'm all for that!

It used to be that when the word pesto came up, most of us thought of the traditional Italian pesto.   Its basic ingredients consist of basil, garlic, olive oil, parmesan and pine nuts.

But in recent years, all kinds of pestos have sprung to life.  From Mexican to Thai, there's a pesto for everyone.  The pesto "formula" has now become, a leafy green or herb, garlic, olive oil, a cheese and a nut.  Of course, chefs and good home cooks often make a few embellishes and tweaks along the way. Every possible permutation of this formula has been explored.  The world of pestos has opened up...and this is a good thing.

At Eat Thrive Heal, we're living an anti-inflammation lifestyle.  Since cow milk dairy products cause inflammation, cheese is something we mostly try to avoid.  So we like to skip the cheese in our pestos, unless it's goat or sheep's milk cheese (see here for information about the inflammatory properties of cow milk products, and some ideas for what kinds of dairy you might be able to eat on a healing diet and why).

So does leaving out dairy diminish the pesto?  Not at all.  Pesto is one of those foods where every ingredient contributes such yummy intense flavors that you really don't need the cheese.

Plus the herbs, super greens and garlic in pesto are powerful inflammation fighters.  Because of this, pesto is a great cooking tool for those of us who are trying to balance healing with creating delicious meals.

Here's a recipe for a fabulously tasty pesto that goes great with lamb.  It has no cheese, of course, and it's packed with anti-inflammatory healing.  This is a pesto you can relish!

Cilantro and Mint Pesto for Lamb

1/2 bunch cilantro
15-20 mint leaves
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup olive oil

Put the herbs, pine nuts and garlic into a food processor and blend.  Drizzle the olive oil through the feed tube with the motor running until all the olive oil has been absorbed into the pesto.  To serve, drizzle over lamb chops or serve on the side.

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