from I Am Grateful- Recipes and Lifestyle of Cafe Gratitude by Terces Engelhart with Orchid

1 tbsp chopped garlic
3/4 tsp salt
3 bunches basil (leaves only)
3/4 c olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 c raw almond butter
1 c hemp seeds

Place all ingredients except for the almond butter or hemp seeds in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Pulse and scrape down sides of bowl until all the ingredients have reached a pretty smooth texture. While running, add the almond butter or hemp seeds. (Some people like their pesto chunky. Use your own judgment as to when to add the butter or seeds.)

Your pesto is now ready to use. This stores well in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Makes 1 1/2-2 cups.

A few years ago, I went to Cafe Gratitude in San Francisco with Shutterbean. I was a little taken aback by the question the waitress asked us: “What makes you courageous?” Oh boy. Good for Bean, she was pregnant, so she had a big deal of an answer: that she was bringing new life into the world. True! But lil ol’ me? I wasn’t about to tell this complete stranger about what I’d ever done to warrant such a title, so all I could come up with was my snap answer of “I wear red eyeshadow,” because Bean had mentioned earlier that I had guts to do such a thing. Laaaaaaaaame. The only thing that made it better was the menu devoted to delicious raw food. I couldn’t believe how rich and filling the carrot cake we shared for dessert was.
Well, fast forward to a few months ago, when I was browsing our local used bookstore, where I found this cookbook! All of the recipes start of with “I Am…,” which is really hard for me to get past. Some of the recipes will call for two, or even three of the other recipes, so it’s a little… tedious. But I found this pesto recipe, as I wanted something quick, easy and delicious, and it was just that. Especially the delicious part. I was really surprised at how much the pesto didn’t taste like almond butter! Of course I used extra garlic, and basil has its strong flavor… and the next flavor was lemon. Mostly the almond butter brought in texture, and let me tell you, it was divine. It coated our quinoa spiral pasta ever so lovingly. In the photo in the cookbook, it showed a ball of pesto, and I wondered if it was so solid as a result of using hemp seeds instead of the almond butter? Let me know if you try it!
I will never go back to pine nut pesto. But you already knew that.