Thursday, August 8, 2013

Lean, green, crunchy cuisine

Do you know what opal basil is?

Neither did I, at least not until after I bought it. The only thing I knew at the time was that at $1.50, it was less than half the price of the massive boxes of traditional basil Fairway was selling. Even the guinea pigs can't help me finish an entire box before it goes bad.

So opal basil it was, in with a bunch of greens and some raw cashews to make an herbaceous vegan spread. I just tossed the entire batch with some brown rice and baked tofu. It tasted great, but it was sort of damp and textureless. If I were smarter, I'd have put in some crunchy celery, red onion, tomatoes... anything, really. Doesn't matter, had zest.

Zesty green stuff

1 package frozen spinach, cooked according to package directions
1/4 pound raw cashews
1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley
1/2 to 1 cup packed opal basil
juice and zest of 2 limes or 1 lemon
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
Optional: 2 tablespoons grated garlic, 1 tablespoon soy sauce
salt, olive oil to taste

While the frozen spinach is still warm, macerate it and the cashews in a food processor until smooth. Allow to cool, then add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Add olive oil to the desired consistency, and salt to taste (keeping in mind whatever you're using the sauce for). Use in anything from a tofu and brown rice salad to regular salad dressing to sandwich spread.

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