Vegan Pesto Recipe

The thing with a vegan pesto recipe (like any pesto recipe) is that it’s not really a recipe. I mean, you don’t need a recipe. You just need some ingredients and a food processor. The trick is to take your regular old non-vegan pesto recipe (assuming the only non-vegan thing in your pesto was parmesan cheese) and replace the parmesan cheese with roasted, salted cashews. Cashews are freaking amazing. I was snacking on them while making this pesto last night and noticed that they have the same qualities I love about parmesan cheese — they’re delicious and salty and even seem to hit the part of your brain that goes “ooooooh” when you eat some really good parmesan cheese.

(Note: I’m working on a vegan ranch dressing recipe, adapted from something from my Vitamix cookbook, with a base of raw cashews and avocado. It’s going to be pretty awesome once I get the seasonings right.)

Anyway, on to the recipe. I promise you this is just as good as non-vegan pesto.

Vegan Pesto “Recipe”


  • fresh basil
  • fresh garlic (I recommend going easy on the garlic so it’s not too overpowering)
  • roasted, salted cashews
  • pine nuts
  • olive oil
  • whatever kind of salt you like (regular, sea, whatever)


Add all ingredients to your food processor and process until smooth. Taste and adjust as needed (I always need to add more salt and oil). Enjoy!

This has nothing to do with pesto, but I’m really sad the Nuggets fired George Karl. He’s a great coach, and I’m willing to bet money that the team will be worse next year than it was this year. On a personal level, I’m bummed because Soren has loved George Karl since he was a little kid. Every time George Karl is on tv, Soren says, “George Karl!” and goes to watch him. So now we’ve lost Masai Ujiri, Super Mascot Rocky, and George Karl. Rough time to be a Nuggets fan.

This Guy

from school
Sorry about the toilet in the background. This was taken at school. My favorite pictures of him are always taken by other people.

His eyes aren’t really blue. They’re more . . . whatever you’d get if you could make greige out of blue and green. Breen? Grue? Maybe gray?

Today he asked me if he could run around like a rock star in his underwear.

In other news, in case this is useful (probably not) or interesting (no) to anyone, I set up a page where I’m listing all my meals and desserts this month . . . so you can see what I’m eating as a vegan who, full disclosure, doesn’t really know what she’s doing. I have no health/dietary expertise. I just try to eat a lot of plants and homemade stuff. You can find it here, if you like.

Hippie Bread: A Recipe

This whole vegan thing I’ve been going on and on about? Believe it or not, I’m even more tired of it than you are. So here’s what’s up. For the month of June, I am officially vegan in terms of what I eat.1 Period, done, end of discussion. I’ll tell you about awesome stuff I’ve been eating and other than that will not agonize over it or even think about it more than necessary. At the end of the month (or shortly thereafter if I’m as much of a slacker as I usually am), I’ll revisit the issue and figure out what’s next.

Untitledhippie bread

Anyway, let’s talk about bread. Ever since we’ve been making most of the bread we eat, I’ve wanted to come up with something that would qualify as “hippie bread.” Do you know what I mean? Something kind of substantial without being too heavy — something full of seeds — something that goes with everything from sandwiches to homemade sun-dried-tomato-basil “cheese” to vegan butter and raspberry preserves to peanut butter with flax seeds sprinkled on top.

This is that bread!

Hippie Bread Recipe


  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup flax seeds
  • 2 heaping tablespoons unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1 heaping tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 heaping tablespoon hemp seeds
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast


Put that shit in the bread machine in the order your bread machine prefers (I put yeast at the end because my bread machine has a little yeast compartment — if yours doesn’t, add it to the dry ingredients). Set machine to basic — large — and whatever crust darkness you prefer (I always choose “light”).

1. I’m continuing to use non-vegan stuff I already have, like lip balm and homemade lotion that contains beeswax. When I run out, I’ll replace with vegan alternatives. I’m still wearing the non-vegan shoes and using the non-vegan handbags I own, but future purchases will be vegan.

Vegan Setback

So I’d been plugging along with my awesome little vegan life. Everything was delightful and I was even beginning to maybe grow accustomed to ice cream that tastes like coconut. And then it all went to shit.

I worked from home Tuesday and spent what felt like the whole day making separate meals for Soren and for me. Then yesterday Ben made breakfast burritos for dinner. He was making a bunch of them (he brings some to work to share with coworkers) and it’s a pretty elaborate process that takes up a lot of kitchen space. The original plan was for me to have pudla, which is great, but I had pudla on Sunday and don’t want to get tired of it already.

So I was going to make vegan pesto, but I was kind of grumpy and tired and I started to get the food processor out and there was like no room on the counter and I had a little meltdown. I wanted something good! And homemade! Not another frozen fake chicken patty or whatever.

Then I was all, holy shit, I can’t live like this with all these separate meals. This is such a pain in the ass and I’ve been spending so much time thinking about and preparing food and just . . . just . . . fuck it!

So I said, “I give up! I can’t do this!” I had a goddamn breakfast burrito, with eggs and cheddar. And I sulked the whole time, super dramatic style. After dinner, I moved my Becoming Vegan book to a shelf where I wouldn’t have to see it all the time. I told Ben we should order pizza on Saturday.

And then I just felt like shit. The burrito was yummy, but the totality of the circumstances left me feeling sad and like a complete failure. Ben suggested — and people always suggest — being an almost vegan, or just having dairy once in a while. But what I’ve learned from my very short time of trying to be vegan is that it doesn’t really work that way. I mean, maybe it does for some people, but for me, I think it has to be all or nothing. I either eat dairy products or I don’t. If I eat them some of the time, what’s my motivation to not eat them the other times? I don’t even think that makes sense, but that’s what it’s like in my head.

While trying to transition to veganism, I’ve been reading a few vegan blogs. They’re good for getting recipe ideas and stuff, but more often than not, they’re kind of disheartening, too. All these vegan bloggers (at least the ones I’ve found) are, like, professional vegans. They make their living by being vegan. Everyone they know is vegan. They live in and travel to exceptionally vegan-friendly locations. They go to vegan conferences. They go to vegan schools! They go to vegan churches! They go to vegan institutional learning facilities!1

And my life isn’t like that at all. I know exactly one vegan in real life. My husband isn’t vegan. My kid isn’t vegan. He likes a lot of vegan food, but he likes a lot of non-vegan food, too, and I don’t feel right about taking those things away from him. It’s harder to get together with non-vegan friends (which is all of them) to have meals, and I generally feel like a pain in the ass. Not that being a pain in the ass bothers me much, but when you add that to making all these separate meals at home and remembering to read labels to check for hidden dairy ingredients where it wouldn’t even occur to you they’d be and thinking about how to make ice cream that doesn’t taste like goddamn coconut . . . it all just feels like a bit much.

But at this point, I’d rather try harder than accept failure. So I’m going to try harder. I’ve already planned our picnic dinner for Sunday: spicy chickpea salad, some kind of yummy bread, sun-dried tomato and basil “cheese,” and beer. And maybe pie, which most definitely will not taste like coconut.

3 1/2

silly pants

(He loves this shirt because the cat is using the copier to make more cats. He only wants to wear shirts that involve cats.)

I’m not gonna lie. 3 1/2 is a challenging age. Is it like this for everyone? I’m guessing it is. There’s a lot of yelling, not for any reason but just because that’s the kind of voice you want to use when you’re 3 1/2. EVERYTHING IS VERY EXCITING. MOMMY LOOK WHAT I DID! And the mommy-look-what-I-dids are awesome and I’m not complaining about them. But there’s also the conversations that go like this, when you’re in the middle of folding laundry or washing dishes or making almond milk because you’re a goddamn hippie or editing summaries of court of appeals opinions:

Him: Mommy, can I have [insert name of thing here]?

Me: Yes, just a minute.

Him: Mommy, can I have [insert name of thing here]?

Me: Yes, in a minute.

Him: Mommy, can I have [insert name of thing here]?

Me: Son, you need to learn the value of patience. (Not really.)

Him: Mommy, can I have [insert name of thing here]?

Me: One second!

Him: Mommy, can I have [insert name of thing here]?


When you’re 3 1/2, there is no “in a minute.” There is only now. And that’s cool, but I’m not particularly well-suited for dealing with these kinds of intrusions on my flow. In the rare event I’m focusing on completing a given task, I want to complete the shit out of that task before I go get you something else and then wander around for the next half hour like I just consumed too much mescaline in Vegas in 1971.

Today out of nowhere, Soren looked at me and said, “Mommy, I’m sorry I’ve been getting you all riled up lately.” To tell you the truth, he kind of rolled over “riled up,” like he knew what he wanted to say but wasn’t sure he was saying it right. “I’m sorry I’ve been so grumpy,” I said, and gave him a hug. “Now we can be friends again,” he said. And I hugged him forever and we were friends again until five minutes later when he yelled and asked me for something 900 times and then we were friends again and when you’re 3 1/2, the highs are so high but man, the lows are so low and you never know what you’re going to get next.

Also your 3 1/2-year-old might sing this song 800 times a day.