tuscan white bean spread with plant based pesto and tomatoes


My daughter turned three and started Montessori the same week.  I made this dish for a potluck at her new school. Vegan, gluten free, low carb... it’s got it all. It also took 30 minutes to make and that’s a real bonus.

Let’s talk nutritional yeast. First off, I’m a fan. You will see this in a lot of my recipes. It has a subtly cheesy flavor, high nutritional value, and tons of umami. (SERIOUSLY try it sprinkled on popcorn with olive oil, salt, pepper, and cayenne and tell me it’s not just as good as cheesy popcorn) I buy it in the bulk section at my local co-op, but with the rise in veganism, it’s found in most grocery stores these days.

 I use it in both parts of this recipe. It adds a depth of flavor that you just won’t achieve without it. You could use Parmesan to substitute if you’re feeling cheesy!

Tuscan White Bean Spread with Plant Based Pesto

Beans:
1 medium yellow onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced, then sprinkled with 1/2t kosher salt, and minced again
2 cans (drained)  or 3 cups of white beans
1/4 cup olive oil  
One sprig basil
One sprig fresh oregano
1T nutritional yeast
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2t red chile flakes

In a large sauté pan, preheated over medium high heat, pour in the olive oil. Add the basil, oregano, and half of the salted minced garlic. Let this sizzle for 2 minutes until the garlic turns lightly golden brown, pour through a mesh strainer. Reserve the fried garlic and herbs for garnish,

Add the garlic oil back to the pan. Add the chopped onion, a pinch of salt and pepper,  and cook on medium high until the edges of the onions are crisp and golden. Add chile flake, the other half of the salted minced garlic, nutritional yeast, and saute for 1 minute. Add the white wine, and cook 2 minutes or so until slightly reduced. Stir in the cooked beans and cook until warmed through.

Taste and adjust seasoning as needed, mash the mixture with a potato masher or just the back of a wooden spoon. 

Pesto:
2 cups fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/2t kosher salt
Pepper to taste
1t white wine vinegar
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

In a food processor, that’s turned on low, drop in garlic, pumpkin seeds, salt and pepper and process 30 seconds, turn off machine and add basil leaves, white wine vinegar, and nutritional yeast, pulse to combine. Scrape down the sides of the processor as needed, stream in olive oil to your desired consistency, taste and season,

To assemble, just top with raw cherry tomatoes, and drizzle with pesto, sprinkle with the fried garlic. Maybe a few basil leaves for pizzazz and cuteness.

Serve with crusty toasted bread, crackers, or even vegetables.

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