{Recipe} Spinach-Basil Pesto

Spinach-Basil Pesto  www.good-good-things.com

Spinach Basil Pesto

Pesto is one of the only green in color foods I can get my kids to eat. So I especially like to hide a leafy green veggie in it! I’ll use anything from Arugula to Mizuna to a touch of baby Kale and Spinach. They have no clue. They love it and ask for it all the time. I typically make it once a week so we have it for pasta one night and on a homemade pizza another night. 

Best Pizza

Favorite Pizza

Rolled out dough, topped with halved cherry tomatoes and baked. We then throw on some raw cashew cheese on top as soon as it comes out of the oven. Its great.


Roasted Vegetable-Pesto Sandwich

Pesto and Roasted Vegetable Sandwich

I personally like to to save some for Roasted Vegetable Sandwiches. I could eat these sandwiches all summer long. 

Pesto snack before pesto pasta dinner. :) #vegan www.good-good-things.com

There is also sometimes pesto eating before a pesto dinner. I get hungry while I’m cooking.

I generally always made our pesto in a food processor but, sadly, part of it broke and I still haven’t ordered the replacement part. All of our pesto is now made in our Vita Mix. The processor makes it chunky, which I prefer. The Vita Mix makes the pesto smooth, which is also ok. It just depends on what you like or which appliance is working and which isn’t! 

Traditionally pesto is made with pine nuts. I’ve given up on pine nuts since having a good ol’ case of pine mouth a few years back. It was terrible. My mouth tasted like metal for days. Right not my favorite nuts and seeds to use are: almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. Seeds being my favorite since I like to keep my daughters school lunches nut free.  Feel free to experiment with any nut or seed you like. 

What’s also traditional in pesto which is a concern for vegans or those that are just dairy free is cheese. I found the best way to replace the cheese in this recipe was to use miso paste! We think it’s a perfect substitution and it’s quite healthy for you also. A good Mellow Miso is easy to find in well stocked supermarkets. 

Spinach-Basil Pesto
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  1. 2 cloves of garlic
  2. 2 cups basil
  3. 2 cups baby spinach
  4. 2 1/2 tablespoons mellow miso paste
  5. 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  6. 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, may need more
  7. 1 tablespoon agave syrup (optional)
  8. salt to taste
If making in a high speed blender
  1. Add all ingredients and blend until combined. Salt to taste. If it's thicker then you would like then drizzle in some more olive oil.
If making in a food processor
  1. Pulse seeds and garlic until finely chopped. Add basil, spinach, mellow miso paste, agave syrup and blend. While the machine is running slowly pour in the oil. Blend until combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times. Season to taste with salt.
  1. Experiment! Try different nuts and seeds! Try different leafy greens but always use basil! Enjoy!
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The Marx Brothers

Freckle Lettuce  good-good-things.com

Freckle Lettuce

I was super pumped about gardening this year. The last few years have been so so on the growing food front. It was hard to take care of everything while having a toddler around for 2 years and then last year it was just a horrible growing season for a lot of people around us. I was determined to get the garden in great shape and have a successful season. 

I decided to start most of the veggies by seed this year. Tomatoes I alway’s buy as seedlings. I just can’t be bothered with them and I have a great place to buy organic and heirloom varieties. My go to for seed ordering is Cubits, located in Canada. I’ve always been happy with their seeds and love the variety that they offer. Plus I like buying from a small family business. Their blog is a favorite as well.

French Breakfast Radish

French Breakfast Radish

At least 1/2 of the garden was planted directly with seeds from :zucchini, kale, freckle lettuch, raddish, beets, carrots, mesclun, mizuna, chard, arugula, basil, borage, burgundy beans and cilantro. I purchased seedlings of peppers, eggplant and tomatoes. Everything was growing really well and then…


2 of 4 Marx Brothers

These guys showed up. We have alway’s had a groundhog. His name is Theon. Its alway’s been just him. We fenced in the garden. He jumped the fence anyway and ate some stuff. It was fine because he didn’t eat everything. This year we took the fence down because it needed to be replaced and decided not to replace it because well…he jumps it. So what difference does it make? Well. This is the first year that baby groundhogs have been born. There are 4 of them. They eat everything and I mean everything! Nothing is left except for the tomatoes and some of the basil plants. Only because they are in containers and not ground level although some bites have been taken from them. They’ve also eaten our neighbors garden. They live under his garage. 

I’m debating now wether to just give up this season or start over with more seedlings. I have plans to build my own row covers for all the salad greens and kale just to help out with the aphids so I’m hoping that will protect the plants. I’ve had offers for people who will come and trap them and take them away but I don’t want that. As destructive as they are I’m alway’s happy to see them. They need to live and eat and survive like the rest of us. 

I’ve dubbed them The Marx Bros. because one of the 4 babies is a grouch! He’s hilarious! You alway’s know when he’s coming because of the grumpy noises he makes and he’s always trying to intimidate us. So we have Groucho, Harpo and Chico. They elusive 4th one, who I rarely see, is Zeppo. 

French Breakfast Radish  good-good-things.com

At least I was able to eat one Breakfast Radish and it was delicious! (I pulled it out of the ground by accident) :) 



Recent Eats and Treats

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

I’ve been splurging a bit while food shopping lately. I’m working 3 day’s a week at a new local vegan restaurant my friends opened called Mundo Vegan and it’s giving me a few extra bucks to spend on things I normally wouldn’t while still putting some money into our savings. Its fun!

I tend to steer clear of the Whole Foods prepared food section, because of the priciness of it, but I glanced at it the other day and these Vietnamese Spring Rolls pulled me over. Rice paper wraps are one of my favorite things to eat! Filled with rice noodles and fresh herbs. These were so fresh and delicious and it came with a great peanut sauce to dip. I was hooked but unfortunately I went back a week later for some more and they didn’t have any. I’ll just have to make my own.

Splurge. #vegan #raw

Brads Raw Chips: Cheddar

Another splurge! I usually just splurge on special chocolate bars. Brads had a sampling at Fairway a few months ago and I fell in love these Cheddar chips. Buying a whole bag of them didn’t disappoint. I love the zing of flavor you get while eating them. I’ll definitely treat myself to these again sometime down the road.

Vegan Bake Sale at @mundovegannj today

Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale

It goes without saying that I purchased quite a few vegan baked treats at our local Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale. There was a container of treats that we took home and a whole bunch of them that didn’t even make it home like The Cinnamon Snail donated donuts. The 4 of us each had 1. My daughter might have eaten 2 of them.

Dinner: fried seitan salad with agave mustard dressing. Carrots, red pepper, tomatoes, slivered almonds. #vegan

Crispy Fried Seitan Salad

A healthier way to eat breaded and fried seitan. No? Preparing seitan this way has become a staple in out home. Its something that the kids will eat. Especially my son who has become super picky lately. My husband and I had a big salad with mesclun, tomatoes, carrots, red pepper and almonds with a few pieces of the seitan thrown on top. I topped mine with a home made Agave Mustard Dressing. My husband choose a balsamic dressing and just dipped his seitan in the Agave Mustard. Eating the seitan as a salad might be my new favorite thing and I’ll definitely be making it again very soon.

Dinosaur Birthday Cake

Dinosaur Birthday CakeSomehow my youngest just turned 3 years old the the other day.  Everything about his birthday had to involve dinosaurs. From the decorations, the presents, his clothes and even his cake. He is ridiculously and adorably obsessed. He really wanted his party to take place at the local Dinosaur Park, yes there really is one, but we will do that trip on a later date. His party took place on our deck for about 10 minutes and then due to torrential rain we moved it into our basement.

He went back and forth on what type of cake he wanted. First it was just vanilla. Then chocolate. Then both and at last a dinosaur cake. I went with “both and dinosaur cake. I made a basic 2 layer chocolate cake using a recipe from the cookbook: Have Your Cake and Vegan Too by Kris Holechek from the nomnomnom blog. The frosting I threw together myself. Just the usual Earth Balance, powdered sugar, vanilla..etc..frosting. After frosting the cake I plopped on his favorite dinosaur and made a quick banner to make it a touch more festive.

vegan chocolate cakeThe cake itself was amazing. So moist and incredibly delicious. I took a risk by making a recipe I never made before and it paid off. A week later some non vegan guests were still raving about this cake! This is my new go to chocolate cake recipe and it should be yours as well.

Most importantly the birthday boy was so happy with it. There was a dinosaur on it! So thrilling to a 3 year old!  My birthday is coming up next and I will be making my own cake. This one! Maybe with a dinosaur on it.


Things we’ve eaten:

Dinner: roasted veg and spinach basil pesto sandwiches. #vegan #whatveganseat

Roasted Veg and Pesto Sandwich

These were a hit at my sisters birthday party! Roasted zucchini, red peppers and red onions with a spinach basil pesto. I see this being a summer staple.

Just a big ol' plate of fried gluten! #vegan #GLUTEN

Big plate of fried gluten!

I could eat this everyday. Its a good thing for my health that it’s a once in awhile treat.

Simit for breakfast


Have you tried a Simit yet? There is a place down the street from the restaurant I work in called The Simit House and their Simit’s are delicious. I love that they are “the bagels grandfather”. We all know how much I love bagels!

Dinner: chicken style seitan w. string beans (I was in the mood for homemade greasy Chinese!) #vegan

Chicken Style Seitan and String Beans 

A Chinese takeout favorite of mine when I was a meat eating youth. Happy to have made a pretty good vegan copy of it. Homemade, greasy, chinese take out perfection.

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