I have a confession. Food sometimes does go bad in my fridge. Over the course of my years on my own and with my husband, the one group of produce that is most likely to meet this horrible fate is fresh herbs. For so many years I would buy a package for a weekend culinary adventure, only to have what I didn’t use sit neglected in a drawer. It would slowly and accidentally be pushed toward the back, only to be discovered in a few weeks and brought to the compost. Of course instead of buying the packages at the grocery store, having a little indoor herb garden by a window makes a ton of sense – I can just pick a little here and a little there as needed – but for whatever reason (all of which boring), I’ve never done that.
But, neglected basil, fear no more!! My solution? Dressings and pestos. Just how roasting vegetables can be the perfect way to enjoy an eclectic mix of remnants from your fridge, herb-focused dressings and sauces are the solution to that bounty of herbs, whether from your garden, your CSA, or the back of your fridge.
My basil vinaigrette (coming soon!) is my go-to dressing for a huge variety of salads and flavors. A slightly sweet basil vinaigrette over kale? I swoon.
And basil is obviously one of the main players in a pesto as well. Traditionally, pesto is made with basil, olive oil, pine nuts and parmesan as the main players. But for the recipe I’m sharing with you today, I have substituted cashews for pine nuts (because I really love the silky texture of cashews and they are less expensive) as well as the parmesan, making it dairy-free. I personally think the taste of parmesan reggiano is mind blowing, but my body doesn’t quite care. So, to get around the removal of the cheese, I have found that fresh herbs really need to take center stage. They can handle the flavor gig.
This dressing would also work really well over just about any form of pasta you want to throw at it, as well as 100% zucchini noodles if you would like to “Paleotize” it. And speaking of making zucchini noodles, you can save yourself a lot of prep time on this dish, by doing the spiralizing a day or two ahead.
I hope you enjoy!
XO ~ Mandy
- Basil – Herbs are not only beneficial for the boost of fresh flavor they bring to a dish. Parsley, for instance, is a powerhouse source of vitamin K. Basil’s eugenol is an anti-inflammatory for the joints and digestive tract.
- Cashews – Like all nuts, cashews can go rancid relatively quickly. It’s best to buy from sources that refrigerate them, but if that’s not an option, make sure and store them that way when you get home. I always buy cashews from the bulk section to save on costs. Pieces (rather than the whole form) are usually significantly cheaper as well.
- Soba – Are noodles traditionally make from buckwheat flour. Now, there is commonly rice added into the noodles. Personally, I seek out the brands that are 100% buckwheat.